UNION COUNTY, N.C. – You don’t need to see Paulette McKee’s face to hear the frustration in her voice.
McKee has two daughters that attend Forest Hills High School, where police say a student — under the age of 16 — was armed with knives, a bottle of flammable liquid, fireworks, a dismantled shotgun shell, and a hit list Tuesday inside a backpack.
“I send them there for an education and the whole time they have to fear for their life and not know what’s going on,” McKee said.
When asked her thoughts when she first heard of the incident, McKee’s emotions took over.
“I was scared,” she said. “Helpless and just going out of my mind.”
The State Bureau of Investigation received a tip from Canadian authorities about a student plotting to stab several kids at Forest Hills. The Union County Sheriff’s Office moved immediately.
“It was very concerning and essentially a potential catastrophe was averted,” said Union County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Tony Underwood.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened there. Last February, a student brought a loaded gun to Forest Hills. The weapon was found inside the student’s car, police say.
According to the annual North Carolina school report card, Union County had the second-most weapons on campus behind Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. That number was 69.
“You don’t expect for that to happen,” McKee said.
She said she would move her kids to private school if she could. Instead, McKee says she’s stuck and fears for her kids’ safety.
“My kids are here and no one can protect them, I can’t even protect them, especially if they don’t even know what’s going on,” McKee said.
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