Student arrested for threats
A 16-year-old Tuscola High School student was arrested by Haywood County Sheriff’s Office deputies Thursday afternoon and charged with a felony after telling fellow students he planned to commit mass acts of violence at the school Friday.
According to Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher, deputies arrested Jonathan Matthew Tingle, of Clyde, shortly after 3:30 p.m. and charged him with making a false report of mass violence on educational property – a Class I felony.
Tingle is alleged to have told classmates he planned to “commemorate” the anniversary of the school shootings at Columbine High School on Friday. The Columbine massacre occurred on April 20, 1999, in Colorado.
“We take these situations very seriously,” said Christopher. “School safety is of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to diligently work to protect our children, as well as the teachers and staff in our schools.”
Tingle was jailed in lieu of $10,000 secured bond. His first court appearance is scheduled for May 1.
Associate Superintendent Bill Nolte said the school found out that a student was making verbal threats to other students and the school and immediately got law enforcement involved.
“We are very proud of the fact that when there is a perceived threat, that our students come talk to us,” Nolte said. The school also received a call from a parent who heard of the threats.
Nolte said punishment for threats could range from a verbal warning to school expulsion depending on the nature of the threats and mitigating and aggravating factors.