Police: 8th grader charged with disturbing school, unlawful comm - FOX Carolina 21

Police: 8th grader charged with disturbing school, unlawful communications for school threat rumors

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Screen shot of the Snapchat being circulated (Provided) Screen shot of the Snapchat being circulated (Provided)
EASLEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Pickens County School District said there was never any threat made against Getty’s Middle and Easley High schools for Friday the 13th despite a social media uproar.

Easley police said additional law enforcement officers would be patrolling both schools Friday out of abundance of caution after a Snapchat post being circulated among students and parents.

Below is what the police department posted on Facebook Thursday night:

“Thank you to everyone that has shared private messages on our Facebook and called the Police Department concerning the rumor and Snapchat post about EHS and Getty’s Middle School. Although tomorrow is Friday 13th and things like this are common, we continue to be vigilant in looking into the situation and do not take this lightly. Additional resources have been allocated and police presence will be noticeable tomorrow at both schools.”

John Eby with the Pickens County School District said there was never any threat conveyed. Eby said there was an incident in 2016 in which a student made an inappropriate comment. That matter was handled and the student did not make any new comments this year, but Eby said some students began speculating that student may threaten the school on Friday.

Eby said it spiraled into a big rumor circulating the schools and then culminated in a Snapchat post that began circulating around 7 p.m. 

The Snapchat post warned people not to go to Getty's or Easley High on Friday the 13th because there would be a shooting. Both police and Easley police said this is entirely untrue.

Eby said parents were not notified until Friday morning because there was never any actual threat made.

Below is a statement the Easley High principal sent to parents Friday morning:

Dear EHS parents,

This week, rumors about a threat against Easley High School began to circulate. The source of these rumors was a comment made by a student last year, which was addressed by the school and by law enforcement at that time. No threat has been made against the school in recent days. This week, students began to speculate that a threat could be made again. This speculation turned into rumors that a threat had actually been made. These rumors were amplified by a Snapchat post which speculated about a threat against other schools, creating greater fear on Thursday night. In response, the Easley Police Department increased their presence in Easley schools as a reassuring measure.

It is important to note that at this time no credible threat has been made against the school. The rumors were fueled entirely by speculation from students and parents.

Easley High School is committed to the safety of our students and staff, and we will communicate if and when there is a credible threat against the school. However, we are also careful not to assist in the spread of misinformation which is sometimes spread by students out of a desire to disturb or skip school. Unfortunately, we live in a time when the threat of violence is something we must always be prepared for, which is why we have a full-time police presence at Easley High School. We also live in an environment where social media can turn speculation into rumors of a serious threat, creating unnecessary fear.

When rumors of violence against the school arise, we encourage our students and parents to contact the school and local law enforcement directly and immediately. We are very grateful to the parents and students who did that this week. We are also grateful to the Easley Police Department for their response to this issue, and for the parents who trust our school and the EPD to keep their students safe each day.

Sincerely,

Gary Culler, EHS principal

Easley Police Chief Tim Tollison said both Getty's and Easley High have full-time student resource officers on staff but extra officers were at the school Friday to reassure parents and students.

Pickens County Schools said Thursday that a student had been referred for disciplinary action for inciting a rumor, but again stressed that there was never a threat. 

Chief Tim Tollison with the Easley Police Department confirmed than an 8th grade student was identified as the person who originated the Snapchat post that circulated online Thursday night. Tollison said that student was charged with disturbing school and unlawful communications.

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