South Pointe High School

South Pointe High didn’t follow emergency procedure during lockdown

dworthington@heraldonline.comFebruary 21, 2013 

— South Pointe High School failed to follow emergency procedures Wednesday, Rock Hill school district officials say, allowing students returning from the Applied Technology Center to be dropped off on campus during the middle of a security lockdown.

School officials met Thursday to review the incident and already have changed policy.

South Pointe administrators declared a lockdown after students told the school resource officer there would be a shooting after school. The threat was made on Twitter, district spokeswoman Elaine Baker said.

The district’s policy requires schools declaring a lockdown to make several phone calls. The first is to the district’s safety and risk management official so the superintendent and school board members can be notified, Baker said.

The school also is required to call the district’s transportation office, which would notify bus drivers of the lockdown by either radio or cell phone, she said.

On Wednesday, the transportation office was not notified, Baker said, so the bus driver wasn’t notified and students were allowed to get off the bus. Because South Pointe was in lockdown, they could not enter the school. Baker said she did not know how many students were on the bus.

She said she didn’t know when the bus arrived at the school, but it was close to the regular dismissal time of 3:40 p.m.

In the future, Baker said, if a bus driver arrives at a school and sees police cars, students will be kept on the bus until the driver is told it is OK to release them.

According to a Rock Hill Police report of the incident, “steps were made toward securing the school and getting the students out safely. ... Students left the school without incident.”

Lt. Brad Redfearn, Rock Hill police spokesman, said more than 15 officers went to the campus, where they searched outside the school, parking lots and its perimeter.

“We already knew the interior was secure,” he said.

Once the search was completed, police notified school administrators it would be safe to release students. That decision was made by school administrators, Redfearn said.

Redfearn, who was at the school during the lockdown, said it occurred at least 25 minutes before school was dismissed.

Any students released from the bus from the ATC were “not in danger,” he said. “We were already on scene.”

There was a fight among students during lunch Wednesday, Redfearn said. Contrary to Facebook posts, he said, no one was stabbed during the fight.

Police are investigating whether the fight was related to the threat of violence, he said.

Baker, in a news release issued Wednesday, said the school was on lockdown for about 10 minutes.

Redfearn said the incident remains under investigation with police trying to determine who sent the Twitter message.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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