The Winston Police Department is pursuing a criminal investigation regarding an unsubstantiated threat targeting Winston Middle School and Douglas High School late Wednesday and early Thursday.

“In a continuing effort to protect our students and staff we will pursue action against any convicted perpetrator(s) to the full extent the law allows,” a press release sent out Friday by Winston-Dillard School District read. “We appreciate the strong support from Chief (Brandon) Sarti and School Resource Officer (Kevin) Vanatta in their tireless effort to hold those accountable that choose to threaten our school community.”

A community member informed law enforcement about a specific person who allegedly made the threat. The Winston Police Department investigated, but could not substantiate the threat, according to a Thursday press release.

It is not known which person is under criminal investigation — the person who allegedly made the threat or the person who reported the unsubstantiated threat.

Winston-Dillard School District implemented its crisis management plan Thursday. Calls to the school district to get more information about the crisis management plan and the impact this would have on students went unanswered Thursday. An email sent to Superintendent Kevin Miller also went unanswered.

On Friday, the district asked media not to contact the district, saying, “These matters often involve our most vulnerable populations and the information we may share is limited by State and Federal statute.”

There was an increased police presence at Winston Middle School and Douglas High School on Thursday after a threat was allegedly directed at the two schools. It is unclear whether the increased presence will continue, as the school district did not return calls.

The person who allegedly made the threat was advised to stay away from Winston-Dillard School District campuses pending an investigation. It is unclear whether that was the criminal investigation or a different investigation.

The Winston Police Department did not have a supervisor available Friday to comment on the criminal investigation. The media was advised to call the school district.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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