Crime

‘Zero tolerance,’ police say after Fort Mill High student Instagram threat

Rock Hill, Fort Mill parents discuss safety, security at their children’s schools

A recent shooting at a school in Florida have parents nationwide focusing on security features.
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A recent shooting at a school in Florida have parents nationwide focusing on security features.

The Fort Mill High School student who was charged Monday with making threats against the school on Instagram was arrested after a family member alerted police.

Monday’s incident quickly turned from a social media posting between students at different school districts into a full-fledged police investigation.

A family member of the 15-year-old Fort Mill High student who is accused of making the threats saw the post on Instagram, a social media platform, and called police in another jurisdiction, a Fort Mill report shows.

That police agency contacted Fort Mill police around 10 a.m. Monday.

The Fort Mill school resource officer on campus notified school administrators. The student was identified by police, interviewed, arrested and removed from campus.

“In light of what has happened around the state and nation, we investigate every incident and have zero tolerance when this happens,” said Maj. Bryan Zachary with Fort Mill Police Department. “That goes for any threat and any weapon.”

No weapons were found and no one was hurt, but police reiterated threats against schools will “not be tolerated.”

“Included in the messages were threats of violence against Fort Mill High School, but not specific to any particular person or groups,” police said.

The 15-year-old boy has not been named because he has been charged as a juvenile and released to his parents.

The student was immediately removed from school Monday and is barred from campus pending disciplinary measures, said Joe Burke, spokesperson for the Fort Mill school district.

Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett, whose office prosecutes student threats in both juvenile and adult court depending on the age of the suspect, said all threats will be reviewed, and will be prosecuted if the case merits it.

“Law enforcement and my office treat every threat as credible unless and until an investigation proves differently,” Brackett said Tuesday. “The public has every right to expect that their schools are safe places for their children, and we will do everything in our power to justify that expectation.”

The boy has not yet appeared in Family Court on the charges, said Ouida Dest, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor over juvenile cases.

The principal at Fort Mill High sent a message to all parents Monday, after the arrest.

“We appreciate our community’s help in identifying any possible threats, and encourage them to continue to report this type of information to our school or district administration and law enforcement,” school officials told parents.

In late May, York Police Department officers charged two juveniles under 12 who made threats to shoot up and bomb York Intermediate School.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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