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I-TEAM: Parents ask why district never alerted deputies about threat

Greenbrier Middle
Greenbrier Middle(WRDW)
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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CORRECTION: At 6 p.m., we inaccurately reported the threat involving Columbia Middle School involved a list of student’s names. Deputies say they discovered a list of numbers, not names, with the title ‘dead list’ in the student’s journal. The school did not alert the sheriff’s office because they did not deem it a threat.

EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A 13-year-old Greenbrier Middle School student is facing felony terroristic threat charges Wednesday night after sending a violent and graphic text about shooting another student. Parents want to know why the school district never alerted the sheriff’s office.

Our I-Team looked into the situation.

The text is spelled out in an incident report from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

“I f****** hate [victim’s name], she’s full of so much bull**** that its not even funny, I hope she gets dragged to hell, gets her eye plucked out of her skull and her skull comes back to me so I can put it on my wall as a trophy! I hate her so much I want to do a school shooting and only kill her, it’ll be worth life in prison to even death,” the message reads.

The suspect is a 13-year-old boy from Greenbrier Middle School accused of sending that text message to another juvenile about the victim.

When a school police officer was made aware, deputies outline in the report that the officer didn’t call the sheriff’s office and instead told the parent to call to press charges. He was arrested within hours of that call and is charged as a juvenile.

The sheriff’s office tells the I-Team they believe the school not alerting them is a violation of their written memorandum of understanding on how to handle campus crimes.

That reads in part, “Violations of the law reported to the…sheriff’s office, which occurred or are occurring within the jurisdiction of any Columbia County school campus shall be handled by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office exclusively. The decision to bring criminal charges will rest solely with the sheriff’s office.”

It’s important to note that agreement was signed in 2013 so it’s not new.

We pressed Columbia County schools about this. They denied violating the memorandum. We’ve also asked the school if he has been suspended and we are waiting on an update.

READ THE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING:

MOU by Jeremy Turnage on Scribd

A spokesperson for the district tells us, Safety of students and staff is a top priority and threats of any nature are not tolerated. School administrators are expected to appropriately report any violation of the law to local law enforcement.”

And we told you we uncovered a second report of another threat on the Columbia Middle School campus.

The only way the sheriff’s office found out about this one was an anonymous caller. That’s when the sheriff’s office checked with the school. Campus police wasn’t aware of the case but the principal was. So is this a pattern parents should be concerned about? Are school threats being taken seriously?

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