MONROE, N.C. — A school bus driver here has been arrested in connection with posting a Facebook message on Friday that allegedly threatened violence against a school, staff members, and “immigrants,” police said.
The message, which was posted twice, targeted Porter Ridge Middle School, but also disparagingly mentioned several members of the school staff by name, as well as “immigrants in Suburban Estates trying to take over the school.”
The initial message appeared on a local Facebook page, What’s Up Indian Trail, at about 2 a.m. on Friday, but disappeared before being posted a second time a few hours later, according to a news release from the Union County Sheriff’s Office. That message, which appeared under a fake name and which WSOC obtained a copy of before it was removed, also contained a threat to “shoot up the school.”
Numerous citizens reported the messages to the Sheriff’s Office, as well as to Union County Public Schools. Sheriff’s deputies began investigating the source of the message and ensured extra patrol was provided for Suburban Estates on Friday. Moreover, several additional deputies were on Porter Ridge campuses.
Late Friday afternoon, deputies confirmed the post originated from a residence in Charlotte and later linked the post to Lashauna Hooker Beachum, who was taken into custody on Sunday. The motive behind the two messages allegedly posted by Beachum is not clear. However, detectives do not believe Beachum had the means or intention of acting on the threat.
Union County Public Schools officials told WSOC that Beachum started working for the district on Jan. 3, and was fired on Friday.
Beachum is facing two felony charges of making false reports concerning mass violence on educational property.
Sheriff Eddie Cathey praised the work of all deputies, detectives, and school officials involved in the investigation.
“The safety of our kids and schools is one of our highest priorities,” Cathey said. “Any comment, rumor, or social media post mentioning violence on school property is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Union County detectives told WSOC that they have responded to nearly a dozen threats of this kind since the Parkland school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14, in which the shooter also made threats on social media before the attack.