RALEIGH — Multiple videos posted by the Instagram account “Cantfinddisacc” show nearly a dozen fights recorded by students at Crain’s Creek Middle School in Moore County.
The videos surfaced in September and early October and the account now appears to have been deleted. North State Journal staff downloaded and reviewed the videos which show both spontaneous fighting inside and outside classrooms on the middle school campus as well as seemingly planned fights on school property.
13-year-old Noah Ashburn displays his bruises after being assaulted by a classmate at Crains Creek Elementary in Moore County on Oct. 7, 2022. Image courtesy of the Ashburn family.
Parent Sami Ashburn told North State Journal in an interview that her 13-year-old son Noah was attacked by another student on Oct. 7 and has since been diagnosed with a concussion.
Her son managed to get away from his attacker and then fled the room. Ashburn said that didn’t stop the student who attacked Noah from trying to follow him by assaulting a male teacher called in to block the doorway.
Commenters on Ashburn’s Oct. 7 post about the attack have questioned where the teacher was during the attack, but Ashburn doesn’t blame her and pointed out the class was being administered at that time by a 19-year-old substitute. The substitute did call for help from another classroom when the fight started. Ashburn said it was her understanding that bus drivers and substitutes were instructed “not to put hands on a student” to break up a fight.
Ashburn expressed her frustration with school officials who told her it was up to the School Resource Officer (SRO) to press charges against Noah’s attacker.
“He [the SRO] said he was going to try to take it all the way,” said Ashburn. “But he also made the comment that he could press charges, but as far as [the student] being suspended or expelled or not allowed back on school property, that it was up to only the administration… that it was not in his hands at all.”
Ashburn said she hasn’t heard anything else from the SRO since the day of the attack and had been told that SRO has been “out sick for the last week and a half.”
She also told North State Journal that she was in “disbelief” they could not press charges by themselves. Ashburn recounted that she and a friend attempted to file a criminal complaint later that evening with the Moore County Sheriff but turned her away.
“The sheriff’s department told me and confirmed that, yes, you cannot press charges yourself,” said Ashburn. She said the Moore County Sheriff’s Department said it was “not in their jurisdiction” and was up to the SRO to file charges.
Ashburn posted video of the attack to her Facebook page on Oct. 14 along with photos of her son’s injuries that include a black eye.
“* ATTENTION PARENTS * If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews that go to Crains Creek middle school I urge you to read this post,” Ashburn wrote. “Your children’s safety is at risk. Last Friday while Noah was minding his own business with his friends another student whom I want you to keep in mind was nowhere in the group of kids Noah was with, came out of nowhere and attacked Noah with the motive to kill.”
The lengthy Facebook post goes on to describe her son being “body slammed” and strangled while the student attacking him was screaming, “I’m going to F*****g kill you.”
“He went through with those threats and tried to succeed,” Ashburn told North State Journal.
In North Carolina, it is a Class H felony to communicate mass violence on educational property.
Ashburn also wrote that “not one time did administration contact me. Noah himself contacted me… hours later.” She also said that “They 100% tried to victim blame my son” and revealed she was made aware that her son’s attacker had already made threats against the school the day prior to the assault on her son. In her post, Ashburn said the threat language included “F****** someone up” and “I’ll kill all the 8th grade boys.”
Facebook subsequently censored the video on the post and Ashburn reposted the video.
Moore County Schools Director of Communications Catherine Nagy issued the following statement to North State Journal:
“Throughout the country, social media accounts posting videos of fights and other instances at schools and on school buses exist. Schools within MCS are no exception. As to the specific Instagram account in question, some of those videos are more than a year old and some are more recent. I am not aware of the status of that account at this time, as it is not an official MCS social media account.
As to the statement by the parent of the victim of an October 7 incident and the ability of the MCS Police to file charges, it is not accurate. The incident is still under investigation and if MCS Police choose to file charges, it will be referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The safety of our students is our highest priority. We take any acts of bullying or violence in our schools very seriously and will take swift action to ensure that those who perpetuate violence are disciplined and charged according to the law.”
In an Oct. 16 post, Ashburn published the text of emails between herself and Crain’s Creek Principal Melonie Jones questioning the district’s ability to protect her son, violations of Moore County Public Schools’ Core Beliefs to support all students, as well as citing discipline policies that would apply.
My leadership team and I met last week to discuss a plan to continue to support Noah,” Jones’ response to Ashburn said. “I can assure you that Noah and the student have been assigned to different teams, so they will not be in any classes together; in addition, neither will they have Encore classes together nor be in the same area while eating lunch. The teachers are required to be in the hallways during transitions, and the administrators and SRO are frequently in the hallways during transitions as well.”
Last November, videos of three violent brawls that occurred the month prior at High Point Central High in the Guilford County School District appeared on social media and were sent to the North State Journal by concerned parents.
Around the same time as the Guilford fights were occurring, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School System was also seeing waves of fights that were also caught on video.
WBT’s Brett Jensen reported at the time that “A big brawl between students and family members occurred Tuesday afternoon at dismissal at Ranson Middle School, where at least one teacher was injured. As a result, new pickup rules are in place. All students have to remain in school until their parents or guardians arrive.” On Nov. 3, Jensen also reported that 15 guns had been found in CMS schools since Aug. 25.