A middle school student in Rock Hill was charged Thursday with disturbing schools after threatening to “shoot up the school,” police said.
In a separate incident at another Rock Hill middle school the same day, students overheard a peer make shooting threats, but no charges were filed after an investigation, police said.
The incident where the student was charged happened at Sullivan Middle School. The incident where the student was not charged was at Rawlinson Road Middle School.
No weapons were found in either incident, police said.
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“We investigated both cases, treated each case individually, and determined charges were appropriate only in the one case where several students heard the threat and class was disrupted,” said Rock Hill Police Department Capt. Mark Bollinger.
Rock Hill schools recently began random searches and instituted stricter security measures after guns were found at two high schools.
The Sullivan Middle School student charged was not identified by school officials or police because of his age. The boy was charged as a juvenile and will have to appear in Family Court after he was removed from the school Thursday.
That student went into class around 9:30 a.m. and still had his book bag with him instead of putting it in his locker, according to a police report.
The student was asked why he still had the bag, and the student replied he was going to shoot up the school, police said.
“This statement got the attention of the class, causing students to turn around and stare,” police said.
Several students were frightened and went to the office of school resource officer Mark Schurig, the report stated.
Schurig and school staff went to the classroom and removed the student, police said.
The book bag was searched and no weapon was found, police said.
The student admitted making the threat, but said he was “joking,” the report stated.
The student was charged and is suspended from school, police said.
Mychal Frost, spokesperson for the Rock Hill school district, said it is never appropriate to joke about a school shooting.
“On Thursday, a student made a poor decision in making a threatening comment in which he said he would shoot other students at school,” Frost said. “While investigating in partnership with the Rock Hill police, the student admitted to making the comment and a threat assessment was completed. The student indicated he was only joking.”
Because of the nature of the comment, the student was summoned to family court for disturbing schools, Frost said.
“At no point is it a joke to make such comments that by their nature incite fear within the school community of students, staff and families,” Frost said. “All students were safe and the school day proceeded under a normal schedule. Once again, our ‘see something, do something’ initiative demonstrated a successful outcome in that students came forward with information that helped us address this situation quickly and safely.”
In the other incident at Rawlinson Road Middle School, police were called around 8:30 a.m. after threats by a male student that he was “going to shoot somebody” were made in a hallway, according to a separate police report.
The student was interviewed and said he was singing a rap song that included the lyrics, “gak, gak, gak, I’m gonna shoot you,” police said.
The student said the others who heard him misunderstood what he said, and he had no intention of hurting anyone, police said.
The child received school disciplinary measures and was taken from school by a family member. Police chose not to file charges.