Alamance Burlington School System received threats by email stating the existence of “multiple explosives” in a “district school” this morning, according to a press release by the Alamance County Sheriff's Office.
Les Atkins, public information officer at ABSS, said other North Carolina districts, like Alleghany County, received similar emails. Atkins said ABSS believes this email was a “swatting email” — meant to falsely report a situation in order to provoke an emergency response.
“People have nothing else better to do than send emails to school districts,” Atkins said. “It's just evil people out there doing this to cause chaos.”
Atkins also said the sheriff’s office believes the email may have come from an IP address in Texas and said instructional hours were not severely interrupted.
ABSS schools are already 18 hours behind on instructional hours for the 2023-24 academic year due to toxigenic mold being found in roughly 30 ABSS facilities. The start of the year was delayed two weeks from Aug. 28 to Sept. 11.
“Anytime you have something like this it's a little bit of a disruption,” Atkins said.
In a press release sent Sept. 12, ABSS declared it would be surveying staff and parents about how to fill the remaining 18 instructional hours. Some possibilities include adding 6 minutes to the beginning and end of each school day, adding 12 minutes to the end of the day, adding Saturday half days or cutting off portions of Thanksgiving or winter break.
Byron Tucker, public information officer for the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, said it took about an hour for school resource officers and police officers to check the 13 district schools under the jurisdiction of the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.
“They have places that they are trained to look for,” Tucker said, “Specific packaging or any item that's unknown to them that they normally don't see — they're looking for that and investigating that — but nothing was found at any of the schools.”
By 11:45 a.m., ABSS sent a message to parents notifying them there was “no credible danger” to district schools and the school day was resumed as normal.