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Student's e-mail causes absences


May 24, 2001

HIGH POINT — An e-mail from a High Point Central High School sophomore caused a number of students to stay home Wednesday and police to send extra officers to the school.

School officials said the e-mail caused a disturbance and nothing else.

The e-mail, sent to some other students last month, said to "watch out for the 23rd," Central Principal Elizabeth Thomas said.

"It was a threat that didn't say anything, but it was left to people's imaginations," she said.

The boy told the school's police resource officer, Calvin Carter, he was referring to July 23, when he gets his driver's license. The boy, who officials will not identify, will not be charged with any crimes. His parents voluntarily kept him home from school Wednesday, Thomas said.

Other parents apparently made the same decision. More than 200 of Central's 1,060 students were absent from school Wednesday. The day before, the school recorded 90 absences.

Thomas said any student with a note from a parent will have an excused absence.

School resource officers from other High Point high schools were at Central briefly Wednesday morning, said police spokesman Lt. Marty Sumner. Police did not find anything wrong at the school.

Kim Spell, a counselor at the school, said any threats are immediately reported to the principal and school resource officer.

"You just never know what direction someone may go in," she said. "Our school, unfortunately, has seen how vulnerable it can be."

In 1993, Rontae Hayes, then 15, shot two students - hitting one in the thigh and grazing the other - while firing a gun wildly around the school bus parking lot after getting into a fight with a third student.

Some parents, such as Debbie Gallemore, were not worried about the e-mail.

She first learned of the message when a PTA member called her from Las Vegas on Tuesday evening.

Gallemore has two sons at the school, a senior and a sophomore. One of her sons saw Carter speaking with the boy who wrote the message in the hall Tuesday. That reassured her family that officials had the situation under control.

Staff writers Tina Firesheets and Shannon Jordan contributed to this report.

Contact Cheris Hodges at 883-4422, Ext. 240, or chodges@news-record.com

By CHERIS HODGES, Staff Writer News & Record, Copyright © 2001 News & Record


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