Saturday, May 18

Diploma Controversy Leads To Threats, Police Investigating

Supporters gather outside Asheboro High School to protest Ever Lopez being denied his diploma for wearing a Mexican flag at graduation. [Scott Pelkey / Acme News]

ASHEBORO NC (ACME NEWS)– The Asheboro Police Department says they are investigating multiple threats against the school system following the viral controversy from Asheboro High School denying a student his diploma after he wore a Mexican flag during the graduation ceremony.

Over the weekend the incident went viral with students, recent graduates, and members of the community gathering Friday and Saturday in front of the high school to protest with signs saying “Free Ever’s Diploma.”

Videos of the incident were trending on TikTok’s “For You” page gaining more than 12.5 million views. An online petition received titled “Give this man his diploma” which had 18,000 signatures Friday afternoon was about to cross 100,000 signatures late Sunday night. The story soon garnered national media attention, with ABC News airing it on the evening news Sunday night and stories appearing in The Washington Post, New York Times, New York Post, and on NPR.

Now the Asheboro Police Department says they are investigating multiple threats to the school system and its employees. Assistant Chief of Police Robbie Brown says they were contacted on Friday, June 4th by Dr. Aaron M. Woody, Superintendent of Asheboro City Schools who reported that an employee had received a threat against the school system via email. That email was sent to the school’s public information officer Leigh Marbert. The author of the email stated “I’m gonna shoot up this school if you don’t give that young man his diploma.”

Police say they are investigating the threat and have stepped up patrols around Asheboro High School. By Sunday night the number of threats of violence police were investigating rose to 10. Three of those threats were sent to Penny Crooks, the principal of Asheboro High School. An officer was placed in Crooks’ neighborhood Saturday and Sunday nights. Anyone with information has been asked to contact Lieutenant Mike Jones at 336-626-1300 ext 302.

As of Sunday afternoon, Asheboro City School’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts had been deactivated or deleted. Searches on Google for Asheboro High School also spiked according to Google Trends. The school district has not issued any statements since its last update Friday at 4 PM in which they said they “were working to resolve this issue with the student and his family so that he will receive his diploma from Asheboro High School.” Ever Lopez Friday said his family is considering legal action against the School System.