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CHS, District 55 schools locked down after social media reports

Clinton High School and schools in Laurens County District 55 were locked down Wednesday afternoon after reports of a potential shooter on campuses began circulating on social media.

“We had reports of a student with a gun on campus that started on social media,” said District 56 Superintendent David O’Shields of the situation at Clinton High.

After the high school’s lunch period, CHS was locked down for 40-60 minutes beginning around 2:20 p.m. while the reports were investigated.

Clinton Police responded in force as well.

According to reports, a Snapchat post was the root of the invalid reports. A student the post referred to was found and questioned but found not to be a threat, O’Shields said.

At about that same time, reports began circulating of similar situations at District 55 schools, said Laurens Police Lt. Scott Franklin.

Franklin said the initial lockdown started at Laurens Middle School with other schools across the district following suit.

“A call center that the district had utilized called into our dispatch with an unsubstantiated claim (about a potential shooter), so we cleared all the schools out of an abundance of caution,” Franklin said.

District 55 schools were locked down for about 30 minutes around 2:35 p.m. The call center was triggered by an out-of-date app that still had Laurens Middle School on its automatic call list, Franklin said.

Franklin said the lockdown was lifted after LPD conferred with School Resource Officers and school officials at each location.

While the reports in both districts proved to be unfounded, O’Shields said they had to be investigated.

“The Clinton Police came in strong, and I’m glad they did,” O’Shields said. “Nothing like that can be dismissed or discarded. Keeping our students safe in the one thing that we have to do.”

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