Threatening message found on Evans High bathroom wall

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October 3, 2006

Parents of Evans High School students are concerned after a claim of innocent blood being shed showed up on a bathroom wall.

Any other time, it might go unnoticed. But with a string of school violence across the country, it's raising concern in Evans.

The threat scribbled on a bathroom wall at Evans High School has parents, students and deputies concerned about safety.

Security is beefed up around the school, with additional guards and random searches, and a letter was sent home to parents.

"I heard there was writing on the walls that someone was going to kill people," student Chris Fodera told News 12.

"It was talking about blood and the innocence of Evans High School," said student Ryan Davis.

After a string of school shootings across the county in one week, Evans High School isn't taking this threat lightly.

"Even though in the back of our minds we feel like this is a hoax, we are taking it very seriously," said principal Don Brigdon.

The letter sent home by the school told parents that writing on a bathroom wall threatened harm to the high school on October 4.

Parent Patti Eddie says she is alarmed.

"Should I just keep her home and protect her in case it's a real threat?" she wondered.

Parent Richard Pope says he is concerned too.

"With three recent events, and in particular in a very peaceful place such as the Amish country in Pennsylvania, it makes you think it could happen anywhere," he said.

Incidents at three schools in one week, in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, have left six girls and one principal dead.

Chris Fodera's mom isn't taking any chances.

"I told my mom when I got home from school, and she said no way, there is no way I am going to school," he told News 12.

Principal Don Brigdon contacted the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. They will be on hand to patrol the school. But there is an alternative if parents don't feel their children are safe.

"As long as there's a parent's note saying why they stayed home, we will give them an excused absence," Brigdon said.

Patti Eddie was surprised by her daughter's decision to go to school anyway.

"Actually it was a very spiritual perspective," Eddie said. "She said she didn't think there was anything to it, but that if it was her time to go home and be with the Lord, she was ready. But her mother's not ready for her to go anywhere."

Principal Brigdon says school is in session for those who decide to come.

"Tomorrow's going to be a normal day, as best it can be, with extra staff members so to speak," he said.

In addition to on-duty officers patrolling inside and outside the school, Principal Brigdon also hired an off-duty officer to be at the school for the entire day. Random searches of classrooms, book bags, and lockers may also take place.

The school hasn't yet said what might happen to the person who posted the threat, but schools in the past haven't taken these kinds of situations lightly. Locally, students have been suspended or expelled based on the severity of the threat.

The president is weighing in on the rash of school shootings.

Today in California Mr. Bush told reporters he's calling for a meeting of leading experts next Tuesday to talk over how best the federal government can help state and local governments improve school safety.

But when News 12 looked at the president's 2007 budget, we found he's cutting Safe and Drug-Free School and Communities state grants to zero.

Last year he allocated $346.5 million for it.