JACKSONVILLE, NC (WNCT) — Many in the Jacksonville community are still thinking about what happened Thursday morning at Northside High School.
Three students are behind bars and face charges after another student died after being stabbed in a fight that broke out before school started. Another student was stabbed but had to survive while a teacher was injured jumping into the situation. The three students were taken into custody on Thursday evening as the investigation continues into what led to the incident.
It has been a heartbreaking 24 hours for the Jacksonville community. Thoughts and prayers have poured in from across the country for the community, the school and the families affected. There are a number of flowers and balloons at the Northside High School sign, and it continues to grow with support.
The parents believe something has to change after the violent altercation. Many were living out their worst fears on Thursday morning as they anxiously tried to find out what was going on as school was closed.
“It really broke our hearts that a mom or dad had to go home yesterday and they couldn’t hug their child on the way home,” said County Parent Mariah Hayes. ‘Onslow.
Hayes said she was emotional as she stood in front of the Northside High sign. She has four young children who should be going to school in a few years. For her, it hit too close to home.
“We all needed to take a moment of prayer,” Hayes said. “Because every parent sends their child to school thinking they are going to come home and thinking school is a safe place for them.”
On Friday, the campus was empty on what was supposed to be the fifth day of in-person learning. The bell rings but no student comes to class. Friday was a distance learning day with guidance available for those who needed it.
Classes resume in-person learning on Tuesday. There is no school on Mondays due to Labor Day. White Oak High School also only learned remotely on Friday after the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged a possible threat of school violence from social media posts.
April Fox was one of many parents who waited hours to pick up their children from Northside. She said she feared the worst but hoped for the best.
“I’m relieved she’s okay,” Fox said of her daughter. “But none of our children should have to go through this right now.”
At a press conference on Thursday, Onslow County Schools Superintendent Dr Barry Collins addressed the issue of school safety. He said they had invested a lot of resources in safety measures at schools in the district over the past year. Jacksonville Public Safety Chief Michael Yaniero spoke at Thursday’s news conference about how quickly a school resource officer responded to the incident, saying he intervened and arrested the suspect then that others were providing medical aid to the injured and that a relay of aid was dispatched to the Jacksonville police. and Deputies from the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.
“Door locks, scans, swapped door locks, cameras and bells. But there’s probably other things we’ll have to look into,” Collins said.
Hayes said she plans to homeschool her children instead of sending them to Northside High School.
“Every parent thinks schools should be a safe place for kids to go to school so they can learn,” Hayes said. “They don’t go to school to try to avoid fights or anything like that.”
Onslow County Schools released a statement regarding the incident on Friday afternoon, saying, “We are focused on prioritizing the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Our thoughts and prayers for recovery are with the family of the deceased young man, the other injured pupil and the entire NHS school community.