Florence schools turn to law enforcement to handle threats

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Threats against schools don’t just come written on bathroom walls, instead they are spread using social media and internet phone services forcing school evacuations and responses by law enforcement.

While many threats are anonymous and turn out to be a hoax, they have to be investigated and taken seriously just like any other crime.

Major Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office tells News 13 threats aren’t just coming from within school walls or even a school’s neighborhood nowadays.

“They are on social media, by the mail, by telephone; anyway that you can imagine and communicate people will communicate a threat from time to time,” said Major Nunn.

From time to time the motivations of the threat vary, just as they did a generation ago when threats were called in by pay phone.

Major Nunn says deputies’ first response is to secure the school where the threat was reported.

Nunn says every school threat has to be investigated and taken seriously, even though in most cases the called-in danger is not real

“We obviously can’t  predict the behavior of everyone but by and large we have done just about everything we know to do to keep school kids safe,” Nunn explained.

Meanwhile, social media and other electronic means of communication help keep parents informed about threats.

Florence School District One released this quote which reads in part:

“Parents are notified by the principal if and when a particular incident warrants disclosure, and if the threat is determined to be an ongoing concern of overall safety to the students and staff.  Florence one makes use of its telecommunications system known as blackboard for immediate communication with parents”

Law enforcement officials say even though threats to schools are few and the credible threats are even fewer, officers are there to make sure students are safe

“We’re not going to be able to get in to any operational details about how the security measures work but we have existing and ongoing relationships with the school,” Major Nunn added.

When a threat is made schools lose classroom teaching time, police waste resources, children are frightened, and parents are angry and alarmed.

Florence School District One officials say school administrators and security resource officers work together  to determine if or when to release any information to parents.