A pair of threats written on the walls of a bathroom stall at Clinton High School led to an increased police presence at the school Monday.
The initial threat read: “On March 25th I will shot up this school I swear,” according to Laurens District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields.
O’Shields said after contacting Clinton Public Safety Chief Robin Morse, the threat was assessed and the decision was made to increase the police presence at the school beyond its regular School Resource Officer. That threat did not seem entirely credible given that March 25 fell on Sunday.
But Monday morning another threat was discovered in the same stall in the same bathroom. At that point, around 9:30 a.m., parents were notified of the threats. O’Shields said about 230 of Clinton High’s 800 students were signed out of school for the remainder of the day.
The second threat included a time when the threatened shooting would take place, but that time passed without incident.
“We already had a larger-than-normal police presence at the school, but then it became more of a stroll through and interaction,” O’Shields said.
“We were doing all within our power to weigh the safeguards of our students and our staff against the legitimacy of those threats.”
The investigation into the person or persons making the threats is ongoing. Footage from security cameras outside the bathroom is being used in the investigation, O’Shields said, praising the efforts of Clinton Public Safety officers who came to the school on duty.
If the person or persons behind the threats is caught, they will be prosecuted accordingly, O’Shields said.
He also praised the teachers and staff at the high school.
“I think our teachers rose to a high level during a difficult situation and are incredibly vigilant,” O’Shields said. “We can never say something won’t happen, but we can say we will do everything we can do to make sure students are safe while they’re in our care.”
O’Sheilds, who teaches a first-period class at Clinton High, also said social media posts exaggerated claims of a lockdown at the high school that never occurred, adding to already tense situation.
“I told my first-period class, that we cannot give into fear – we had a president (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) who was famous for saying something like that,” O’Shields said. “Unfortunately, we have to live with the realties of these threats.”