Threatening ‘messages’ shake up schools

From Staff Reports

Threatening “messages” found at two public schools in Darlington County Dec. 12 led to lockdowns and an evacuation, officials said.

Darlington High School was locked down until about 9:15 a.m., when the all-clear was given.

Lamar’s Spaulding Middle School was evacuated and the adjacent Spaulding Elementary School was put on lockdown and then was evacuated “when it was safe,” according to the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office. Spaulding students and staff were allowed back in about noon.

When the Darlington incident began, the school district sent out a message to parents: “This morning a message was found at Darlington High School. Police are investigating it now. Everyone is safe; however, in an abundance of caution, police have placed the school on lockdown. … No one, including parents, can get in or out of the buildings during the lockdown.”

The same morning, a Darlington County sheriff’s deputy assigned to Spaulding Middle as a school resource officer was notified of a message written on a wall in the school, said the sheriff’s office. “Based on the message,” the SRO immediately began evacuating Spaulding Middle. Adjacent Spaulding Elementary was initially placed on lockdown but was later evacuated when it was safe to do so, officials said.

Law-enforcement officers made a sweep of both schools; another sweep was made by the Hartsville Police Department’s bomb-sniffing dog. But nothing was found to indicate a legitimate threat, the sheriff’s office said.

Author: Rachel Howell

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