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School incidents raise concern in Burke, Columbia counties

Burke County Middle School, Waynesboro, Ga.
Burke County Middle School, Waynesboro, Ga.(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 3:34 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2021 at 4:00 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A couple of weeks after school threats started rising dramatically locally, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office reports a new twist. Also, we’re learning for the first time about something that happened last week in Columbia County.

The spike in school threats has been a disruption to districts across the CSRA. Threats started coming in a few weeks ago in Jenkins County, then started again the week before last at Burke County High School. Since then, at least eight other schools have been affected.

In Burke County

On Monday morning, a parent of a student at Burke County Middle School reported suspicious activity to school administrators, deputies said.

The parent discovered a PowerPoint being circulated among several students.

Within the PowerPoint were several meaningless phrases, emojis and images of monkeys. Of the 27 slides in the presentation, one depicted a monkey’s head on a human’s body holding a handgun and the phrase “Now you shoot up a school with 9mm.”

“This is believed to be an isolated incident and has no direct connection to the previous threats received by the Burke County High School on December 2, 2021,” the sheriff’s agency reported.

Those incidents at Burke County High led to the closure of the school for a day.

The school district will administer disciplinary action in connection with the latest incident and the sheriff’s agency has contacted the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice with a referral of disruption of a public school because of the students’ actions, deputies reported.

“The BCSO will continue to work with BPS to ensure a safe learning environment for our students, staff, faculty, and community,” the sheriff’s agency said. “We ask that all personnel continue to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity or pertinent information to school personnel or law enforcement.”

In Columbia County

Meanwhile, we learned Monday of an incident Dec. 8 at Harlem Middle School.

A student said that another student overheard a student saying, “Yo I`m finna shoot up the school.” The student accused of making the statement denied doing so, but two other students heard it, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

The student was taken to Columbia County jail for processing and fingerprinting and then transported to the regional youth detention center, according to deputies.

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