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Tyrrell schools closed Feb. 14 to investigate threat

Tyrrell County Schools were closed Feb. 14 after an online threat was received the previous day.

The threat did not materialize, but school authorities shut down facilities so the sheriff’s office could investigate the matter.

Supt. Oliver Holley posted the following message on the school district’s website on the afternoon of Feb. 13:

“TCS will be closed for all students and staff as a precaution to the threats we have received online. We will continue with our investigation to ensure the safety and security of all students and stakeholders within our district.”

On Feb. 14, Holley issued the following letter to parents of students:

“This letter is written as notification of an issue that has impacted our school district.

“On Thursday, February 13, 2020, district staff was made aware of a possible threat to Columbia High School circulating on social media. Upon learning of the comments that evening, Tyrrell County Schools administrators immediately reported the information to the Tyrrell County Sheriff’s Department. Based on the investigation with local law enforcement, we are confident that there was no threat to the school, staff or students. However, the decision to close school for the day was made to allow time to investigate the matter.

“We understand situations such as this are deeply concerning to parents, students, and the greater community. We want you to know that the administration of Tyrrell County Schools has exercised extreme diligence and taken all proper actions required by law and in the best interests of our students and faculty.

“As we look to reopen on Monday, you will notice an increased presence of law enforcement officers on and around campus, as a precaution. We will continue to work in collaboration with local law enforcement to maintain a safe learning atmosphere. In addition, the Student Services staff, along with additional support from Mobile Crisis staff will be available for those students and staff that are in need.

“Due to the fact that this incident is an active investigation of law enforcement, the district staff cannot comment on the matter. We ask for your patience as we strive to respect the confidentiality of those involved and the integrity of the remaining investigation.

“I would like to thank the Tyrrell County School Board, Sheriff Sawyer, district administrators and the entire Tyrrell County Sheriff’s Department for your assistance during this critical time.

“I would also continue to encourage our students, staff and community members to use the Say Something Anonymous Reporting app at https://www.saysomething.net/ . This system provided useful information to assess this event and respond in a timely manner. As always, if you “See Something, Say Something”.

“Again, thank you for your understanding in this matter.”