Former student accused of threatening mass violence faces judge

NEWTON, N.C. — Newton-Conover High School was placed on lockdown Wednesday afternoon after officials said there was a verbal threat of a gun on campus.

Former student James Driver, 16, was arrested and charged with making a false report concerning mass violence.

Police said he texted a few students, threatening to use a gun at the school.

Driver appeared in court Thursday morning.

Reporter Ken Lemon was in court and will have the latest developments on Eyewitness News. 

The Newton Police Department received the report at about 2:40 p.m. about a former student threatening the use of a deadly weapon or a firearm at Newton-Conover High, the police said in a news release.

Officers responded to the school for a potential threat in the building but did not find anything suspicious. The campus was searched for any potential threats before any students or staff members were released Wednesday, police said.

After the campus was thoroughly searched and each classroom and office was cleared, staff and students were checked before being escorted off campus to a secure pickup location.

The school was searched again after all staff and students were evacuated and then turned over to Newton-Conover City Schools.

Students and staff were locked in classrooms and supply closets for more than 90 minutes, Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon learned. Parents were waiting in line to pick up their children and the children were waiting in classrooms for the dismissal.

There was then an announcement made "lock down ... lock down." Classrooms were locked and everyone started hiding. Students told Lemon that they were very scared.

The superintendent of schools said there will be classes Friday. Students will be able to retrieve their belongings then.

The soccer game scheduled for Wednesday night was canceled.

Driver bonded out of jail late Wednesday night.

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