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Teacher charged with threat to shoot up Orange County school banned from properties, owning weapons

Sarah Krueger, WRAL reporterMay 24, 2019

At a hearing Thursday morning in Orange County, a teacher who allegedly threatened to shoot up the school where she worked had nothing to say about the charge.

Kristen Michelle Thompson, 38, of 2108 Strebor St. in Durham, resigned last week from her role as a special needs teacher at Pathways Elementary School in Hillsborough. On Tuesday, she was arrested, charged with communicating a threat of mass violence. Her bond was set at $1,000, and she paid it, court records show.

According to the warrant for her arrest, Thompson told three of her fellow teachers that she’d signal them with a message – “the squash is ripe” – to get out of the school because she was going to open fire. Another teacher told investigators that Thompson said, “any day she does not come in and shoot the school is a good day.”

In court on Thursday, prosecutors revealed that the threats stemmed from comments made on May 6, yet Thompson stayed on the job.

The judge banned Thompson from all Orange County Public Schools properties, from possessing any guns or other weapons and from contact with “members of the Orange County Public School System unless it’s for investigative purposes.”

As she walked out of court, Thompson ignored questions from reporters about the allegations.

Seth Stephens, a spokesman for the school system, said Thompson had worked at Pathways for less than a year. Since her resignation and arrest, he said, “We are working closely with law enforcement to continue the safety of all of our buildings, all of our events, all of our staff. As a precaution, we have had elevated law enforcement presence on our campuses.”

According to the Orange County Schools’ policy, employees have a duty to provide reasonable supervision of students, in responding to student altercations and other threats to safety.

“Employees shall be alert at all times and, at a minimum, immediately report situations that may pose a threat to the safety of students or any other person on school system property, at school events, or in any other situation in which students are under the authority of school employees,” the policy says.

Anyone with information about Thompson’s alleged threats is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 919-245-2900.

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