UPDATE | Students scared after threats to Aiken County school came from "outside of the United States"

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- Midland Valley senior Orren Burke says today was scary.

"I don't know why they would pick our school," Orren Burke said.

The high school was on hard lockdown for hours after three threatening calls from someone investigators traced to outside the United States.

"First thing we did was we shut the doors," Burke said. "We stopped class, we shut off all technology, all smart boards and we put every student into the safest corner possible."

Orren says from about 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. they hid inside their third period classes.

"The only thing you can really do is if you're religious, you can pray and hope that everything is going to be okay," the Midland Valley senior said. "They say no cell phones, but you can contact loved ones in case something does happen."

Investigators say the first call came in at 9:45 a.m. The school resource officer picked it up and not long after that, Aiken County deputies arrived at the scene.

"You just really have to rely on the local police and administrators to make sure that they're handling everything that they need to," Burke said.

Then two more calls. The last one was at 1:00 p.m. This time, deputies say the principal answered and spoke to the caller. They traced the call outside the school, in fact, it was outside the U.S.

"When the situation calmed down and they realized the threat wasn't in the building, they let us one by one use the bathroom and let us go and then by wing, they let us eat lunch," Burke said.

Deputies say they're not sure why the school was targeted, but they're asking federal authorities for help.

Orren says he's just happy it was a false alarm.

"It was a big cluster really. A lot of parents that were freaking out trying to get their kid out as fast as possible."

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office says they will have deputies at the school; not because there's still a threat, but just to make the students and parents feel safe.

3:15 p.m.

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken County Sheriff's Office investigators have identified the source of two threats sent to an Aiken County Public School District high school.

Investigators say the threat that sent Midland Valley High School into a hard lockdown on Thursday morning originated from "an area outside of the United States."

"While we are unsure of why our high school was targeted for this prank, local law enforcement is contacting federal authorities for their support with this issue and individual," a statement on Midland Valley's website said.

Midland Valley remains under a hard lockdown until the school is given the all clear from deputies.

A hard lockdown, school officials say, means all exit doors are locked and movement inside the school is limited.

Students and staff remain safe inside the building, officials said.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office will be back at the school on Friday to monitor.

"Just for the students the families to know we're here and just to follow up and things go smooth," said Sgt. Shunn with ACSO.