By Steve Woodward
Reporting on the horrific April 28, 2023, knife attack by a Pinecrest High School male student, 16, that left a female student, also 16, hospitalized with life threatening injuries, the Chief Officer for Student Support Services, described “a heroic effort” by many in its aftermath.
During Monday’s Board of Education work session, Mike Metcalf provided a chronology of what happened around and after 8:35 a.m., including instinctual acts of valor by students untrained to react to random violence. Their courage in the moment made all of the difference in limiting the havoc wrought by the knife wielding teen.
A student used his vehicle to block the assailant’s car get-away (using the car belonging to the victim). With the attacker now on the move on foot, a student turned attention to the victim, removing his shirt and using it to apply pressure to the wounds of the writhing girl. Principal Stefanie Phillips arrived soon thereafter, followed by a campus nurse carrying a trauma kit. A law enforcement officer ran down the attacker and cuffed him. An EMT vehicle was dispatched to rush the victim to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
Metcalf said school administrators adeptly turned to coordinating the restoration of order and instituted plans to send students home in their personal vehicles with parental permission, while instructing other students who wished to leave the campus to contact their parents. Mobile phones are taken for granted in 2023. In the morning hours of April 28, the tactical use of mobile phones brought order amid disorder.
A smart phone also was the best option when Superintendent of Moore County Schools Tim Locklair sought to alert the seven members of the Board of Education. He texted them collectively around 10 a.m.
One or more board members were in sub-committee meetings. One was seven times zones away on business in eastern Europe. One was at home caring for a newborn. Others were going about their days at work.
By the next day, The Pilot, marginally a newspaper, had posted a detailed report about the attack on a helpless victim on its website. It also posted a report about a morning prayer vigil in front of the Pinecrest auditorium on Saturday, April 29, attended by three students who were on the scene after the stabbing. But it added one more element to “the story”.
“Board of Education Reacts in Private Text Thread”, blared the headline.
How did the editor of The Pilot, John Nagy, who wrote the story, know about the texts? He was not included in the text chain with all seven board members and Superintendent Locklair. He knew because screen shots of the texts were captured and forwarded to Nagy. Evidence of this is irrefutable. Thus, amid the sober environment of the past 24 hours, Nagy used the content of the texts (posted as screenshots at thepilot.com) to ostracize board members, the very board members he has targeted frequently since a new board was seated after last November’s elections.
“Under North Carolina law,” wrote a frothing Nagy, “a majority of board members constitutes a quorum, and the rapid-fire discussion of school business (by text) may be a violation of the state’s public meetings law.”
Nagy’s reporting objected to the tone of the text exchanges. He called out school board member David Hensley, his favorite target, who viewed the unthinkable incident as a natural outcome of a failure to expel and incarcerate students who pose threats over recent years.
‘I have only been saying that for 2+ years,” Hensley texted. “It is time we actually start doing it, or the School Board will start running the (campus) Police Dept directly and we will ensure they are incarcerated.”
Previous school boards have not addressed school campuses patrolled by inadequate police protection, and were negligent in a failure to submit police to active shooter training for more than five years.
What was not mentioned in Nagy’s “report” by the Pilot is that April has been an active month for security alarms directed at school board members. In each case, detailed by Hensley in Monday’s meeting, text alerts kept board members up to speed.
Where was the outrage about internal texting on April 17, when a credible threat was reported at Sandhills Community College requiring campus evacuation? Where was breathless reporting on April 19 when board members were kept informed by text about protests outside two high schools involving students who walked out of classrooms against policy to protest the board’s Parents’ Bill of Rights? Where was the wrist wringing about open meetings laws when board members were notified by texts about a bomb threat at New Century Middle School?
Why, you ask? Because no sinister citizen betrayed fellow members by leaking the texts. But given the heightened community awareness of the Pinecrest incident — a student was stabbed with knife — nefarious forces could not resist, as Hensley correctly observes, an opportunity “to score cheap political points at the time of a terrible tragedy.”
Nothing can be done about John Nagy, publisher David Woronoff and The Pilot. Masquerading as journalism, it is advancing every twisted agenda on the Left’s top 10 — including manufactured racial division, gender dysphoria, woke education and the end of order and law enforcement.
What can be done is to launch a thorough board investigation into who leaked the April 28 texts, pursuing a reckless vendetta and exploiting an attempted murder at Pinecrest High.