Nearby Apex Friendship High School faces school shooting threat by unknown student

A note found in an AFHS bathroom has sparked fear over threats of a shooting

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Nearby Apex Friendship High School faces school shooting threat by unknown student

The note found in an Apex Friendship bathroom this past week has created worry over a potential school shooting, with many AFHS students choosing to stay home on Friday (day of said proposed shooting).

The note found in an Apex Friendship bathroom this past week has created worry over a potential school shooting, with many AFHS students choosing to stay home on Friday (day of said proposed shooting).

Alfred Charles, WRAL.com

The note found in an Apex Friendship bathroom this past week has created worry over a potential school shooting, with many AFHS students choosing to stay home on Friday (day of said proposed shooting).

Alfred Charles, WRAL.com

Alfred Charles, WRAL.com

The note found in an Apex Friendship bathroom this past week has created worry over a potential school shooting, with many AFHS students choosing to stay home on Friday (day of said proposed shooting).

By Uma Bhat, Green Hope High School

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Early last year, Green Hope students marched out in solidarity with Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a high school in Parkland, Florida that faced one of the most fatal school shootings of the decade. Now, threats of a potential school shooting at local WCPSS Apex Friendship High School — just fifteen minutes away from Green Hope — are hitting a sense of fear that’s a bit closer to home.

According to the shooting “threat” scrawled onto a note posted on a girls’ bathroom wall, the unknown writer plans to bring a gun to AFHS today (10/18/19) and “hurt everything in my path”. While administrators have excused those students who do not want to attend school on Friday due to the commotion, many students have varying opinions regarding the validity of the warning message.

“Students posted a picture of the note and posted it on their stories to spread it, and, honestly, there were mixed reactions. Some people were fearful because they’d seen threats like this before, and were panicked. Other people thought the note was fake because they believed a real shooter wouldn’t want to bring attention to it [a shooting],” Alina Khan, a junior at Apex Friendship, elucidated. “Personally, the first thing I thought was that the note was a hoax, however, I realized that sometimes a shooter may want to cause panic around the school to evoke a reaction, so I thought there is really no evidence to prove that it’s [the note is] fake.”

School shootings have plagued a number of schools across the country, with some of the most notable incidents including the previously mentioned Stoneman Douglas, as well as Columbine, Sante Fe, and Sandy Hook. Still, despite past victims’ calls for “knowing the signs” of potential shootings, it remains unclear on how to interpret the actions of those who threaten mass violence. Often times, threats — like the note posted on the AFHS bathroom wall — are debated over their legitimacy, with students not knowing whether to take them as a joke or with all seriousness. Especially in areas like Cary and Apex, which are both known for their extremely low crime rates and academically focused student bodies, shootings can seem like a faraway concept.

For now, the administration team at Apex has posted a message online making clear that they “take all threats to our school seriously”; AFHS officials have contacted the WCPSS security department and law enforcement to take part in a search for the student who posted the note, despite it appearing to be a “hoax threat”. Even so, they urge parents to make clear that hoax threats are unacceptable and perpetrators can “face consequences including criminal prosecution and suspension from school.” Khan agrees with this stance.

“I think the person who wrote it should most definitely be punished because a lot of people I know were very scared,” she said. “One of my friends was in a shooting at Crabtree Valley Mall and she was too panicked to go to school and re-experience something like that [shooting]. Many parents were also very worried and a lot of students stayed home on Thursday. Posting a threat like this for attention is very irresponsible, and according to the FBI, hoax threats are considered crimes.”

WCPSS has not had any school shootings in the past, but has continually reaffirmed their commitment to keeping schools safe, launching the “Safe Schools Tip Line” to glean information to prevent any violence at school and, just this academic term, taking on a “comprehensive assessment of school security” (ABC 11). Still, school systems can only do so much to protect students — the rest of the issue of school safety falls squarely onto the shoulders of politicians and lawmakers.

This story was originally published on Falcon News Feed on October 18, 2019.