The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the Moore County Schools Police and Moore County Sheriff's Office investigation of a threat leveled against school board members in early September.
Chief Arthur Frye of Moore County Schools Police reported the threat to the SBI on Sept. 13 under advice from the sheriff’s office. Frye filed a formal incident report on Sept. 21, two weeks after someone reportedly left a threatening, after-hours voicemail on the district’s human resources line.
Moore County Schools has not disclosed the nature of the threat, but Robert Levy, a member of the school board, has reported that the sender referred to mandates requiring students to wear masks around the district. First adopted on Aug. 9, the mandates were recently upheld by four of the board’s seven members — Libby Carter, Pam Thompson, Stacey Caldwell and Ed Dennison.
“SBI possesses capabilities for assessing threats that are not available to local law enforcement," Catherine Murphy, director of communication for Moore County Schools, wrote in an email to The Pilot. "There is no lead agency as this is a joint law enforcement investigation."
The Pilot has requested copies of the threat, and of any communication between the district and school board members related to it, under state public records law. Murphy responded that the district is withholding that information due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation.
When reached for comment, representatives of the SBI and Moore County Sheriff’s Office deferred to Moore County Schools Police.
Moore County Schools initially reported “a particular concern” under law enforcement review as the reason behind moving the board’s regular meeting, originally scheduled Sept. 13, from West Pine Elementary to the smaller board room at the district’s central office in Carthage.
The board ultimately postponed the bulk of its September business meeting until Sept. 22, citing a legal technicality stemming from the venue change. Moore County Schools Police screened meeting attendees, more than 20 of whom spoke in opposition to continued mask mandates, through metal detectors as they entered the building.