South Carolina

Hickman principal says there’s no ‘credible threat’ to the school

A teenage Hickman High School student was arrested by Columbia police Thursday afternoon after a written threat of a shooting at Hickman High School was issued Wednesday.

According to the CPD, the police were made aware of a screenshot of a social media post that was circulating around 5 p.m

This screenshot shows a written threat of a school shooting on the cubicle walls of the girls’ restroom.

A male youth claimed responsibility and was identified by police on Thursday. He was taken into custody and later handed over to his parents on the instructions of the youth welfare office, as announced by the CPD on Thursday afternoon.

Police determined that the person had not made the threat and continued their investigation. Continued police investigations later on Thursday led to the arrest of the teenage Hickman High School student.

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Brian Yearwood sent a message to CPS families, students and staff just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday with the latest update on the incident

“Threatening statements, rumors of safety threats, or hoaxes related to school safety will be punished under Department of Education guidelines, which may include expulsion from the school district,” Yearwood said. “Law enforcement agencies also take these threats seriously, even when such incidents are intended as pranks.”

The Hickman administration responded to the written threat in an email Wednesday night.

According to an email obtained by the Tribune, sent around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Hickman principal Mary Grupe reached out to parents and families of Hickman students and alerted them to rumors of written graffiti on a bathroom stall wall, the possibility of a threat to the secondary school.

The email said the incident is being investigated by Hickman employees, county security and local law enforcement. The email did not specify the nature of the threat.

“While we do not believe this is a credible threat, we wanted to bring your attention to the situation and let you know that the school is taking this incident seriously,” the email read. “We take all threats seriously, real or rumored.”

In a photo acquired by the Tribune, graffiti on one wall read, “I’m going to shoot the school on Thursday, I’m sick of the people.”

More:In order to remain competitive, the Columbia School Board increases the salaries of substitute teachers

As of Thursday, Hickman High School had additional law enforcement resources on its campus to ensure students, faculty and everyone on campus felt safe, according to the email.

“The safety and welfare of our students is always our top priority. We want all of our students to feel safe coming to school,” the email said. “Thank you for your support in keeping our schools and campuses safe places for our students and staff. We look forward to the remaining days we have together this week.”

A spokesman for Columbia Public Schools wrote in an email to the Tribune on Thursday that the threat was reported after the school was publicized on social media. CPS believed there was no credible threat following the investigation, the spokesman said.

The school was in session Thursday in Hickman, with additional police on campus.

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