Crime

Rock Hill student heard threat to ‘shoot students and staff’; police took it seriously

Sullivan Middle School mom says swift action after shooting threat made a difference

Sullivan Middle School student parent Florence Aaron talks about the threat another student made Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, to "shoot up the school" including students and staff, according to police. The student was charged with disturbing schools.
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Sullivan Middle School student parent Florence Aaron talks about the threat another student made Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, to "shoot up the school" including students and staff, according to police. The student was charged with disturbing schools.

A Sullivan Middle School student has been charged with disturbing schools after he confessed to saying he would “bring a firearm to school and shoot students and staff,” Rock Hill police said.

No one was injured, and no weapons were found, police said.

The student confessed to making a threat to “shoot up the school” on the last day of school, police said. The accused student confessed to police to making the statement, but said it “was a joke” and not a serious threat, the police report states.

“Threats are not a joking matter,” said Mychal Frost, spokesman for the Rock Hill school district.

The student has not been named because of his age. He was not allowed at school Thursday, and will be out of school during a disciplinary process, which could include sanctions up to expulsion, Frost said.

School officials praised the actions of another student, who heard the threat made by the accused student who said he had access to a gun at home, Frost said.

Frost said the saying repeated by officials -- especially since the Florida school shootings last week -- of “Hear something, say something” worked.

Frost said there is heightened awareness of potential violence after last week’s Florida school shootings. He said the school district wants students and parents to immediately report anything that is heard or seen.

A student who overheard the threat Monday at school told parents at home, police said. The parents contacted school officials, who launched an investigation with police, according to Frost and a police report.

“The student told the parents about being afraid to go to school,” Frost said. “The parents immediately contacted us. We are thankful and grateful the parents and student did the right thing.”

The police report says the accused student’s threat to “shoot up the school” was heard by other students, as that student walked by a lunch table. olice interviewed several students, officers said. The accused student was charged Wednesday because he was not at school Tuesday, the report states. Police intercepted the student accused of making the threat Wednesday, as he got off the school bus before school, the police report says.

The school resource officer did not find any weapons at the school Wednesday, said Capt. Mark Bollinger spokesman for the Rock Hill Police Department.

After talking with prosecutors, police charged the student with disturbing schools, Bollinger said.

Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit Solicitor his office will “take very seriously” any threat made by anyone concerning school safety, regardless of age.

“Kids need to take heed, too, that we will do everything we can to ensure that all our children go to a school in a safe environment,” Brackett said.

A second student from Sullivan Middle School was investigated by police late Wednesday. That student’s grandparents overheard her threaten to shoot up the school, a police report says. The grandparents called police around 8 p.m.

Officers responded to the grandparents’ home Wednesday night and interviewed the student. Bollinger said she heard the first student make the school shooting remark, then repeated it at home. No credible threat was found, Bollinger said.

Investigators determined the second student made an “offhand remark” and have not filed any criminal charges, Bollinger said. That student was removed from school Thursday after a police and schools investigation that is ongoing, said Frost and Bollinger.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082

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