CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has reported what they’re calling a ‘disturbing trend’ after they said at least seven threats of violence have been made by students this school year.

Deputies said on seven occasions in the 2022 school year, teen-aged children have made threats of violence against their school or people at their school.

“These threats have been delivered both verbally, electronically, and in written form. Often these threats catch traction on social media and cause extreme fear and uncertainty for students, school staff, and parents,” the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said it aggressively investigates every reported threat of violence in or at a school. During many of these investigations, the department has discovered that the offender believes ‘that they are being funny’ or ‘making a joke.’

“We want to make it clear that we do not consider threats of any kind to be funny or a joke. Every case will be investigated, and appropriate criminal charges will be made, in addition to any school-based punishment the child receives,” the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities are encouraging parents to have a discussion with their children and help them understand that threats of violence are never a joking matter and that anyone who may have information on a threat, to come forward with information.