Bomb threats on bathroom walls caused Midland Valley HS evacuation

Bomb threats on bathroom walls caused Midland Valley HS evacuation

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - Midland Valley High School students are back in class Monday afternoon after a bomb threat caused the school to be evacuated.

Later Monday afternoon, a statement about the evacuation was posted to the school’s website. In it, Assistant Principal Kristie Brooks says two separate bomb threats were found at two times during the day on bathroom walls at the school. And, as per the standard precaution, law enforcement was brought in to sweep the the school. The nature of the second threat, school administration and law enforcement evacuated the students during the second search. After law enforcement and K-9 units cleared the building, students were allowed to return inside.

Brooks is asking for parents help is curbing these kind of unsubstantiated threats, saying that while some may see them only as pranks, they are extremely disruptive to school days and they will be treated very seriously. Students could face consequences including expulsion and criminal charges.

This is Midland Valley High School Assistant Principal Kristie Brooks, and I am calling you this afternoon to inform you of law enforcement presence on our campus today. It is customary for us to notify you of anything out of the ordinary that occurs during the school day. At two times today, a student discovered and reported a threat on the bathroom wall at our school, and as a standard precaution our school was immediately and thoroughly swept by law enforcement each time. Given the nature of the second message and following District safety protocols, school administrators and law enforcement evacuated the school during the second search. After an extensive search by police and their K-9 unit, the school was cleared by law enforcement and students returned to the building safely. In an overabundance of caution, increased police presence will continue through afternoon dismissal. We appreciate the collaboration of local law enforcement and the continued support of our parents and community as we stand together in keeping MVHS a safe place to learn and work. I am requesting your help in assisting us with curbing the number of unsubstantiated threats that are occurring at our school, which are in violation of our student Code of Conduct. While some may feel these actions are only pranks, they are extremely disruptive to the school day and are treated very seriously, especially with regard to student discipline and consequences. We do not want your student to experience a disruption or potential unwanted disciplinary consequences. Parents and students, please be reminded pranks of any kind that threaten the safe learning environment of our school will not be tolerated and will involve law enforcement and school district consequences for any student participants. These consequences could include or lead to a student’s expulsion from school as well as criminal charges.
Assistant Principal Kristie Brooks, Midland Valley High School

FOX 54 reached out to Aiken County Public Schools about the incident. Public Information Officer Merry Glenn Piccolino sent the following statement:

This is not the first prank related to safety made at Midland Valley High School this year. While each has been entirely unsubstantiated, all threats initiate emergency precautions and procedures. In the event of a change in a school’s security status such as a lockdown or evacuation, we do all we can to provide factual information to students and families as quickly as the situation will safely allow. During the evacuation today, rain and weather made it unsafe to remain outside during the entirety of law enforcement’s sweep of the building. In order to provide a safe shelter for students in the storm, police and the K-9 unit fully cleared Midland Valley’s gymnasium for safe reentry and custodians brought in fans to keep the space as cool as possible given the number of occupants. Students and staff were evacuated in the gym for approximately 30 minutes. Our greatest concern in the event of a threat, whether substantiated or not, is always the impact on students and staff. Today we experienced that impact directly as a number of students so shaken by the threat of violence were transported for emergency medical care. There are likely other students and staff members who also experienced a similar reaction and may need the support of our school counselors. Our certified counselors will certainly be available and we encourage anyone that would like to speak to a counselor to do so as soon as possible. During each communication about these pranks, we have urged parents and guardians to speak with their students about threatening schools. Today’s message was no different. It is well past time for students responsible for these cruel pranks to stop. The school and law enforcement will continue to take whatever steps are necessary in order to do so.
Merry Glenn Piccolino, Aiken County Public Schools

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