News 12 First at Five / Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- Sabrina Cooper made up her mind Friday morning. She didn't let her son attend Midland Valley High School.
"It's not a chance I want to take with my kids at all -- even the slightest hint of something going to go wrong," she said.
The Aiken County Sheriff's Office says they heard the rumors Thursday night. Since then, they've been all over Facebook.
"The rumor was that two individual students had made threats on one particular teacher and that they were going to shoot up the gym because there was supposed to be a big assembly. All the students was going to be gathered in there," Cooper said.
"The way this threat was relayed to me was that a child saw it written on a bathroom wall. Then, you know, a friend of a friend of a friend saw it, but nobody's been able to find that threat written anywhere in the school," said Cpt. Troy Elwell with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.
However, Elwell says the Sheriff's Office heightened security anyway. Deputies could be seen throughout hallways Friday morning.
"Today really was kind of expected. We didn't know it would be today, but we figured that it would have incidents in our schools," he said.
Miles away, Silver Bluff High School was also on high alert. That's why Laura Greer kept her 16-year-old at home, too.
"Even if it's just a threat, you still have to take precautions, and if that means me keeping my child home, then that's what's going to happen," she said.
While all Aiken County high schools do have resource officers year-round, middle schools and elementary schools do not. Both women, and others, want that to change. In fact, they say they'd even pay additional taxes to make it possible.
"Definitely. Definitely. If it meant our children and, you know, everybody else's children being safe, definitely," Greer said.
News 12 talked to Aiken County Public School District's Deputy Superintendent David Caver. He says that kind of decision would probably have to be made by voters in a referendum.
He told News 12 that he, Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Randy Stowe will be meeting with law enforcement at the beginning of next year to talk about security and what they could possibly do better.
As for the students who where held from attending school Friday, Caver says they'll get a make-up date for any exams they missed if they have a note from their parent or guardian.
Caver says the absence will most likely also be excused if parents cite safety concerns as to what prevented them from attending school.