WEST JEFFERSON — A potential shooting threat at Ashe County High School originating from a text message is still under investigation as of 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, according to Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell.
"We are still continuing an investigation, and it will be ongoing," Howell said. "However, we do not think the threat this morning was a credible one at this time."
Ashe County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Yates said that the threat, which was shared with Ashe County Sheriff's Office and ACS around 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, was determined to most likely be "hearsay," circulated by students, and that no credible threat had been found.
"Just because we found it not to be credible at this time, doesn't mean it's not credible for tomorrow or the next day," Howell said, adding that the investigation is not closed. "The goal is to get somebody charged."
The "soft lockdown" at ACHS remained in effect until the end of the school day, Yates said. Movement within and outside of the building was limited, but instruction continued without interruption while law enforcement patrolled the campus.
At around 9 a.m., Ashe County Public Schools shared a post on Facebook directed towards parents saying that a text message circulated among students mentioned a potential threat. It added, "It is probable that this is not a credible threat, and that a student has created this text message to disrupt the school day."
Yates said she is preparing a statement for parents that will be released later in the day. Ashe Post & Times will provide updates as they are made available.
Ian Taylor contributed reporting to this article.