Thursday, March 30, 2023

Update: New Hanover County Schools and Sheriff’s Office respond to Myrtle Grove threat rumors

Update 7:00 p.m. – Two more students at Myrtle Grove were arrested for making threats. All three students now arrested were apparently threatening “mass violence” at the same event, an assembly to be held Friday, Feb. 23.

Related story: Two more Myrtle Grove students arrested for threatening mass violence at Friday assembly

Update: 4:00 p.m. – New Hanover County Schools Spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum said the delay in releasing information to parents was due to the school waiting for “clearance” from the Sheriff’s Office. New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Jerry Brewer confirmed that detectives were still investigating and serving search warrants Wednesday night into Thursday.

Update 11:00 a.m. – Law enforcement responded to rumors of lock-downs or possible incidents at Myrtle Grove Middle School and Eugene Ashley High School. According to Jennifer Dandron, WPD spokeswoman, there was a “possible lockdown” at Ashley High School.

New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jerry Brewer said a hoax Facebook post had occurred earlier in the day, but there had been no incidents and Ashley and the school was not on lockdown.

New Hanover County Schools posted the following message on their Facebook page.

The NHCS post included a message from Principal Cyndy Bliss: 

“Good Morning Myrtle Grove families:

As some of you are aware, there was a message written on a desk at yesterday threatening violence at our school Friday. Since that time, we have worked closely with law enforcement, school district personnel and school staff to identify the source and currently law enforcement has control of that situation. We continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of all of our students. 
We have support staff and administrators and additional law enforcement officers on campus today to work with any student or staff that needs reassurance.

We take the safety of our students seriously and will work to make sure they feel safe and supported at school.”

NHCS spokeswoman Valitta Quattlebaum said parents had been notified prior to the Facebook page. However, several parents commenting on Facebook said they had heard nothing. According to Quattlebaum, an automatic call was sent out at 10:30 a.m. – along with an email – and reached most parents, with the exception of a few hang-ups and bad numbers. Quattlebaum underscored the importance of parents keeping their contact numbers and emails up to date.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A student at the Myrtle Grove Middle School was arrested yesterday for making threats.

A 14-year-old male student was arrested for communicating threats, according to Lt. Jerry Brewer, spokesman for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. According to Brewer, the student is still in custody in the Sheriff’s Office juvenile detention facility.

Parents of students at Myrtle Grove Middle School have apparently not heard anything.

“I am a parent and have no notification from the school,” Douglas Wernicke, the parent of a Myrtle Grove student, said, adding that for parents there was “lots of confusion.”

Myrtle Grove Principal Cindy Bliss is out of town until Monday, Feb. 26, according to an automated email response. The Myrtle Grove school phone lines have been busy for several hours.

Calls and emails to New Hanover County Schools (NHCS), including Deputy Superintendent Dr. Rick Holliday and Chief Communications Officer Valita Quattlebaum were not returned at the time of publication. This article will be updated with any new information or statement from NHCS.

Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

Related Articles