CMPD: Social media threat against Phillip O. Berry Academy not credible

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A high school student has been caught, after CMS said he made a threat toward Phillip O. Berry academy of technology, claiming he would shoot up the school.

Channel 9 saw the threat, which was made on Instagram.  It shows a teenager, with his middle finger extended, with a comment about "shooting up Berry" Wednesday.

CMS said an investigation found the threat was a hoax, but extra security was added anyway and some students left school early.

Several parents told Channel 9 they felt they should've been told about the threat Tuesday night, not in the morning after school had started, and they were already at work.  Many of them, like Mary O’Neill, came right back to pick up their kids and take them home.

"It scared me. So I’m going to take my daughter home," she said. "This could have been handled a little better."

CMS said it notified parents Wednesday morning, because the incident was still under investigation last night. Students at the school said it was a crazy day on campus.

"There were cops everywhere.  Every time you turned around there was a cop, even at the doors," said senior Myakeya Jamison.

Another senior, Nivar Reid, said he never felt unsafe at school Wednesday.

"I kind of feel sorry for the guy who did this.  I don't think he meant to do anything at all, and he still got in trouble for it," he said.

CMS said the student responsible does not attend Phillip O. Berry, but another school. Some students told channel 9 that he used to attend Berry.

By early morning, CMS sent out an automated message to parents telling them the person responsible had been apprehended, and would be disciplined according to the rules of student conduct.

"It was crazy.  Everybody’s been talking about it all day long," Reid said.

Principal Kennedy’s Connect-Ed messages:

Good morning Berry families. This is Principal Kennedy with an important message. It is my goal to keep you informed of important things impacting our school. Last night, there was a social media threat made against the school. Law enforcement is currently on the campus investigating. The safety of our students is extremely important. For that reason, we have extra security on campus today. I will keep you updated when more information is available.

Good morning, Berry families. This is Principal Kennedy with a follow-up to my previous message. CMS Police officers have concluded a thorough investigation of the social media threat against our school. While the threat was deemed not credible, CMS Police continued to take the matter very seriously. The person responsible was quickly apprehended and will be fully disciplined in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Our scholars have been exemplary this morning and all teaching and learning is proceeding as normal. Please know that there is nothing more important than the safety of our students and staff and we are committed to maintaining a safe learning environment at PO Berry. As always, thank you for your support of our school. Have a great day.

It’s not known if the teen responsible faces any criminal charges.  Students said they were notified over the intercom, that someone had been caught, and the threat was not credible.

CMS did not have numbers on how many students went home from school Wednesday.

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