Friday, Feb. 8, 2019
AIKEN COUNTY, Ga (WRDW/WAGT) -- Midland Valley High School students, as well as school and board administrators, are not taking chances Friday after three threats were lobbed at the school Thursday.
“I don’t feel safe going back sometimes,” eleventh grader Tyson Clark said. “There’s different threats and you have to take them each serious. Yesterday was different than all the other ones.”
Clark, as well as several other students, stayed home Friday after spending 5 hours hiding in a classroom Thursday.
But Thursday’s three threats are just a drop in the bucket compared to the nine the school has received since August 2018, and the 21 from all the way back to August 2017.
Eleventh grader Zack Snipes says it feels like they’ve gotten a threat at the school at least once a month.
“We've had them three times in one day,” Snipes said. “We've had to go out there to the stadium and sat there for the whole day really."
The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office says of the 21 threats the school has received, 13 were shooting threats and eight were bomb threats.
Midland Valley High School Principal Carl White released a statement Friday to discuss the recent threats.
"Our school and district leadership, teachers and staff have worked together with students, parents and law enforcement to implement extensive and varied measures to prevent these interruptions to their instructional day and after school activities.
Many threats have been isolated to student restroom walls. Efforts to combat that include limiting the number of restrooms available to students, student sign in/sign out procedures for restroom use, implementation of a coordinated supervision schedule for the restrooms, darkening the color of restroom walls to make them more difficult to write on, communications to parents, meetings with students and more.
Yesterday’s threat, while different in delivery and likely perpetrator than many our school has recently experienced, the response from law enforcement, our school and district administration was similar to other responses in that it was focused on best practices for ensuring student and staff safety unique to the situation, early and consistent communication, and an extensive and collaborative investigation to identify the individual or individuals responsible.
Despite the frequency of unsubstantiated threats, Midland Valley and law enforcement always approach threats with the same level of seriousness and care. We regret the loss of instructional time, impact on athletic, arts and other activities, and most tragically, the diminished sense of school safety that these threats cause.
While the threats to our school have been a serious disruption, the state of The Valley is strong. Teachers, students, staff and our community have continuously come together in support of their school. I appreciate their continued support and am always open to their opinions and ideas and to hearing their concerns about this issue. Together, we will solve it. We must.”