A 17-year-old Union County high school student was arrested and charged after authorities said he posted threats on Instagram.
Justin Parker Cassidy, a student at Porter Ridge High, was charged Thursday night with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property. He was released on a $5,000 bail.
Porter Ridge High students discovered the threats Tuesday night, the Union County Sheriff’s Office said.
After questioning by authorities, Cassidy admitted to making the threats but claimed they were a hoax, the sheriff’s office said.
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Under N.C. law, it is a felony to make a false report concerning mass violence on educational property.
Sheriff’s investigators said felony charges also are pending against two other teens for threats written on a bathroom wall at Sun Valley Middle School this week.
“Social media is a great tool with a lot of useful benefits, but posting threatening messages towards our students and schools will not be tolerated,” Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement.
Cathey praised the quick work of school resource officers. “In each of these cases, the SROs worked with school officials to quickly identify the suspects,” Cathey said. “These officers do an outstanding job and provide excellent service to our students and our schools.”
To ease concerns of parents, deputies have increased patrols around county schools using both marked and unmarked vehicles, the sheriff said.