Man arrested after social media post prompts soft lockdown at several schools

Patrick Colby Banks has been charged with with disorderly conduct in the case. (Photo credit: Madison County Sheriff's Office)

A man has been charged after deputies say a social media post prompted a soft lockdown at several mountain schools on Thursday.

Patrick Colby Banks, 20, has been charged with disorderly conduct in the case.

Authorities with Madison County Sheriff’s Office say they began receiving phone calls on Thursday in reference to a social media post that had been circulated by students in several school districts in Western North Carolina.

Officers didn't specify the content of the social media post, but said several Madison County schools went into a soft lockdown based on statements made in the post.

Stacia Harris, the director of communications for Buncombe County Schools, said North Buncombe High School had extra SROS on campus on Thursday after a social media post was brought to the attention of administrators.

"The comments, posted on social media by someone who is not a student, were not made against any school, but are statements about government and small-town injustice," Harris said in a statement.

"Our students shared the posts with NBHS administration this morning and, per our procedures, we initiated an investigation to separate fact from rumor," Harris added. "We want our parents to know that we continue to maintain safe learning spaces at our schools, and the school day at North Buncombe High continued on as normal."

Deputies say they identified Banks as a suspect and located him in Marshall during a traffic stop.

Banks is in custody at the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

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