Parents at a North Carolina middle school are furious after finding out that teens at the school were planning a mass killing — and that the media found out before the parents did.
What are the details of the incident?
Local law enforcement are investigating at least six students, ages 12 and 13 years old, who were reportedly planning a "Columbine-style attack" on the school, according to KTRK-TV.
The attack was allegedly supposed to be carried out at Carver Middle School in Laurel Hill.
The sheriff's office said that two students told the staff at Carver that they believed a group of teens planned to carry out a massacre on the school grounds.
A teacher also told the school's student resource officer about suspicious posts that some of the teens shared on Instagram.
Capt. Jessica Sadovnikov said that the students' Instagram discussion was credible enough to warrant an investigation.
Another captain with the sheriff's office said that the students face felony charges of communicating a threat of mass violence on school property.
The outlet reported that the students involved with the social media postings were removed from school.
School Superintendent Ron Hargreave credited students who spoke up about the concerning social media posts with continued school safety.
"Because of that, because students were brave enough to come forward, our campus is safe," Hargreave said.
What are parents saying?
Parents converged on Carver Middle School for a meeting Tuesday night about the incident.
WRAL-TV reported that angry parents peppered school officials with questions for almost two hours.
One parent expressed her anger that the media knew about the threat before the parents did.
"Please put something in writing or in some type of policy where the school system is allowed to inform the parents before news media puts it out," Sonya Thomas said, "because that's what really upset me."
Hargreave noted that the sheriff's office requested that the school not make any public announcements in the early part of the investigation.
"They didn't want students erasing stuff that they were going to have the opportunity to confiscate and see what they were talking about," he explained.
Sheronica Smith, the school's resource officer, added, "[W]e removed the threat as immediately as anybody possibly could."
On Wednesday, however, after the parent backlash, the sheriff's office said in a statement that it "at no time instructed any staff or member of the school board or school to refrain from informing parents or family, and at no time instructed the school to stop or prevent the staff members from taking further action."