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Kannapolis Middle on early morning lockdown after social media threat

KANNAPOLIS — Students at Kannapolis Middle School were placed on temporary lockdown Friday morning as police investigated a threat against the school.

School resource officers were able to identify the author of the post as a 13-year-old female student at the school.

According to officials, the student posted the threat early Friday morning on the image-sharing app Snapchat. Photos sent through Snapchat are viewable for 10 seconds after opening them, and then they disappear. The nature of the app led officials to believe that the threat was an empty one.

“So we don’t think the threat was credible,” said Ellen Boyd, director of community relations for Kannapolis City Schools.

However, system staff and Kannapolis police responded as though the threat were serious, securing students who had already arrived at the school, holding students on buses and clearing the school building.

“You just take all the precautions necessary,” Police Chief Woody Chavis said.

According to Chavis, the message threatened that there would be an incident, possibly a shooting, at breakfast Friday morning.

Chavis said the school system will handle disciplining the student.

With social media, Chavis said, it’s easy for someone to make a vague and empty comment and it “just spreads like wildfire.”

No evidence of a planned incident was found, and Kannapolis Middle resumed its normal schedule. Central office staff and police maintained a presence throughout the day. Boyd said parents were notified about what happened.

Such comments can lead to an emotionally charged situation, Chavis said, disrupting student schedules and worrying parents.

“It causes so much anxiety,” he said.

“Everything is fine,” Boyd said of the day.

She and Chavis said they are hoping for a quiet Monday morning.

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