A teacher was charged for threatening to “shoot up” an elementary school in Hillsborough, North Carolina, police said Tuesday.
Kristen Thompson, 38, is facing a felony count of communicating a threat of mass violence after other teachers told police she had made threats against Pathways Elementary School, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Thompson, who resigned Friday, allegedly told three of her fellow teachers that she’d signal them with a message to get out of the school, according to NBC-affiliate WRAL. The message that she was about to start shooting was allegedly, “the squash is ripe.”
The sheriff’s department made note that the issue was also a personnel issue and that school administrators are “strictly forbidden by law” from sharing information.
“A threat of school violence is understandably unsettling for the community,” Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a press release. “Please know that the school and law enforcement are working together as a team to ensure the last few weeks of the school year are safe and productive for our students.”
Thompson was arrested Tuesday by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and released on a $1,000 secured bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on June 14.
In a separate incident involving teachers and guns, Betty Soto, a fourth grade teacher at Starkey Elementary School in Seminole, Florida, was arrested by Pinellas County Schools Police this week for allegedly bringing weapons to school.
Authorities allegedly found a Glock 9mm handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, a six-inch fighting knife and a two-inch finger knife in her backpack on Monday. She brought the weapons to school while students were still in class, according to two arrest affidavits.
Soto, 49, was arrested on two counts of carrying a concealed weapon and released on bond Monday night. An attorney for Soto entered a written plea of not guilty, according to county records.
An NBC affiliate reporter asked Soto as she was leaving Monday night why she brought the alleged weapons to school. Soto told the WFLA reporter, “Ask your governor.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this month that wouldallow teachers to carry firearms on school grounds in an expansion of the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, signed after the 2018 Parkland school shooting.
Soto’s weapons were legally purchased and she had a concealed carry permit, WFLA reported.
Pinellas County schools, however, have opted out of the Guardian program and prohibited all weapons on campus, according to WFLA.