UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A Union County school bus driver has been arrested for posting threatening social media posts targeted toward Porter Ridge Middle School and its staff members, police said.
Deputies told Channel 9 that 32-year-old Lashaunda Hooker Beachum is facing two felony charges for making false reports concerning mass violence on educational property.
She mentioned several members of the school staff by name as well as “immigrants” living in suburban estates, officials said.
Beachum then threatened to shoot up Porter Ridge Middle School, according to authorities. The threat caused 600 students to miss school on Friday.
Joshua Gregory said both of his children had interactions with Beachum, and after reading her threatening post, he said he's relieved she's no longer behind the wheel.
"Not knowing when you'll see them again or that they'll be OK is very scary," he said.
Gregory said his son goes to Porter Ridge Middle School, and on Friday, he made his son stay home fearing threats made on social media would be carried out.
"The bottom drops when you hear stuff like that,” Gregory said.
Gregory was surprised to find out the person behind the threats was his son's school bus driver.
"It just blew our mind,” he said. “What if my kids were on the bus and she got angry?"
School officials told Channel 9 that Beachum started working with Union County Public Schools on Jan. 3. She was fired on Friday.
“It just goes to show you what lengths people are willing to go to when they have evil in their heart,” Gregory said.
Deputies said the initial post appeared under a fake name on a local Facebook page, “What’s Up Indian Trail,” around 2 a.m. Friday morning, but was posted again a few hours later.
Beachum was reported to the Union County Public Schools and Union County Sheriff’s Office, who investigated.
Porter Ridge had additional security on campus Friday.
"I pray every day that when my children leave me that God's going to take care of them,” Gregory said.
The motive behind the two messages allegedly posted by Beachum is not clear, but detectives said they don’t believe Beachum intended on acting on the threat.
Union County detectives said they've responded to nearly a dozen similar threats since the school shooting in Florida last month. In that case, officials said the shooter made disturbing threats on social media before carrying out the attack.
It's one reason Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said his office is taking any chances.
“The safety of our kids and schools is one of our highest priorities,” Cathey said in a press release. “Any comment, rumor or social media post mentioning violence on school property is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
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