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UPDATED: Heavy police presence at WHS Friday, April 20

Rumors of continuing violence at Whiteville High School Friday prompted a show of force by police for much of the day.

Whiteville City Schools Superintendent Kenny Garland said absentees were higher Friday due to rumors on social media that some of those involved in Monday’s melee in the cafeteria would retaliate with firearms Friday.

While three people are seen in a video of the fight posted online, five students are under investigation for their possible involvement, Garland said. All of those students have been suspended and charges are pending based upon the completion of the investigation by law enforcement, Garland said.

School officials became aware of the rumors Thursday, Garland said, and immediately began planning a response.

“We were notified of the potential of an act of violence to be completed at Whiteville High School during school hours (Friday),” he said in an email. “Law enforcement was contacted immediately and the WHS administration also communicated with the school staff to be alert for suspicious activity on the school campus.”

Social media reports from a variety of sources illustrated a discussion of the possibility of such an attack, Garland said.

“While I have not actually seen all of the postings on social media, I have been informed the two events may be related,” he said. “Whiteville City Schools takes all threats very seriously and will work with law enforcement and faculty/staff to ensure the safest environment possible for our students.”

No problems were reported and no arrests made Friday, according to police.

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