CAMDEN Co., N.C. - Camden Middle School was closed Monday after the Camden County Sheriff's Office received a report that a group of students were planning to attack several other students on campus.
According to Camden County Schools, the report came in Friday.
School officials say the sheriff's office was able to identify all of the students involved and assess the threat, which they deemed to be credible.
All of the families involved were notified. No students were hurt, the school district says.
School officials in Camden County addressed parents concerns and provided resources on how the school will move forward when students return Tuesday.
"It was not an easy decision to shut down school today, but I thought we needed to do it because I wanted to look every teacher in the eye and make sure they were safe," said Mike Reeves, the principal of Camden Middle School.
“The early evening of Friday, December 3, the Camden County Sheriff's Department received a call regarding disturbing emails,” said Sheriff J. Kevin Jones.
The sheriff says a Camden Middle School parent reported disturbing emails.
"This email was accompanied by physical evidence that some of the participants had already taken steps to carry out this attack. This was not a planned mass attack on the school, but rather a specifically planned attack on four named students and potentially one unknown," Sheriff Jones said.
Camden Middle’s principal says a plan is in place as students return to school Tuesday.
"We’re going to go back and retrain all of our students on the Say Anything anonymous reporting app. Our resource officer is going to go into our health classrooms, and she’s going to be teaching a curriculum that’s anti-bullying, anti-violence we purchased - it's called the Strong Schools curriculum, which is a social, emotional curriculum," Reeves said.
Reeves couldn’t say what disciplinary actions the students will be facing due to privacy concerns.
"I do not anticipate those kids being back on campus tomorrow, and if they are, then I will address that," Reeves said.
One parent says he doesn’t feel safe sending his child back to school.
"If they told us anything, if the kids were coming back or not - we don’t know that and if we can have any clue of who they were targeting," said Nick Webb, the parent of Camden Middle School student.
Webb says he’ll consider virtual learning or homeschooling for now
Due to the fact that this is an active investigation involving minors, Camden County Schools was not able to share any more information.
Below is the message sent to all families with students in the school district:
On Friday evening it was reported to the Camden County Sheriff that a group of Camden Middle School students were planning to attack several other students on campus. In cooperation with Camden County Schools, the Camden County Sheriff's Office was able to quickly identify all of the students involved and assess the threat. The Camden County Sheriff's Office has contacted all of the families involved in the incident and determined the threat was credible. All students are safe and no students were harmed. Please be assured the safety and wellbeing of all students is the number one priority of Camden County Schools and the Camden County Sheriff's Office. Due to the fact that this is an active investigation and involves minors, there is very limited information that can be shared. As this situation unfolds, we will keep you informed about the information that we can share. Out of an abundance of caution, the superintendent has decided to close Camden Middle School on Monday, December 6th for students. Staff should report to work. We anticipate having school for students on Tuesday, December 7th, but will confirm that with families on Monday. Thank you for your support.
On Tuesday a representative with the school system said Dr. Ferrell advised the shooting in Michigan that happened on November 30 did not influence the course of action that school administration when addressing the situation at Camden Middle School. The representative added, "Also, closing the middle school on Monday was done out of precaution. Closing school is not a standard procedure. The decision to close was made so that law enforcement could be given enough time to sweep the building to make sure there were no weapons and since the investigation began over the weekend, this gave administration time for staff to learn about and process what was going on as well as plan for students to be back in the building."
News 3 has also learned that a student made a threat against Independence Middle School in Virginia Beach over the weekend; however, that threat has has been deemed unsubstantiated.