The first day of school got off to a tumultuous start at Patton High School after two suspicious packages were found in front of the school Monday morning.
Burke County Public Schools released students from the high school around 9 a.m. after a staff member found one of the suspicious packages at the entrance to the school, according to a news release from BCPS.
The staff member notified the school resource officer, and students were diverted to a safe location on campus away from the suspicious items.
Burke County Sheriff Banks Hinceman said one of the items left on the campus was a canister of some variety.
The sheriff’s office contacted local, state and federal partners, including the Morganton Department of Public Safety, Burke County Emergency Management, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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No explosives were found in either of the packages. The News Herald watched as bomb squad members worked at the scene.
BCPS Superintendent Mike Swan praised Patton’s staff for the efforts Monday morning to keep everyone on campus safe.
In a news release, BCPS said a deciding factor in releasing Patton students Monday morning was the fact it was too late in the morning for cafeteria staff to prepare food for lunch.
School is expected to continue normally at Patton on Tuesday, BCPS said in the news release. No other schools were affected by the incident Monday morning.
Julia Nolasco was in line to drop her son and daughter off at the high school when she first got a call from BCPS about the suspicious packages.
“Everybody’s waiting for the first day of school and this has happened … It’s crazy … hopefully nothing bad happens in the next day,” Nolasco told The News Herald.
Sabrina Jackson said she was already anxious with her son starting at a different school this year, but Monday morning’s scare was unexpected.
She said she suspected the culprit would end up being a student who wanted to get out of school and said she hoped they would learn from their actions.
“I figure it’s one of the teenagers being messy, and they need to grow up,” Jackson said. “It’s about time. You’re about an the adult world, and you can’t be doing this junk.”
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the Burke County Sheriff’s Office at 828-438-5500.
Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.