Two schools evacuated following alleged threat; normal operations resumed following searches

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Tuesday morning evacuation and subsequent searches of Rehoboth Road Middle School and Spalding High School returned “negative results” related to an alleged threat reported earlier that morning.

According to Capt. Dwayne Jones, of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, the threats were reported by the Griffin-Spalding County School System.

“Evidently they had received some type of threat via social media about both schools,” Jones said. “The protocol, obviously we responded and searched both schools with negative results. Students and staff are safe and have been returned to class.”

WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital Emergency Medical Services did respond to Spalding High School. Officials report it was unrelated to the search.

“It was due to a student. That student has been treated, but I don’t know the status beyond that, but EMS was called,” Jones said.

Jones described the Sheriff’s Office’s response as swift and thorough.

“We responded as many people as we could obviously and we called for bomb detecting dogs – K9s to come assist. The Fire Department responded, which is normal protocol. School resource officers were already on the scene. Command Staff – Sheriff Dix was there, Chief Thomason was there along with as many patrol officers as we could make available,” Jones said. “We had a very good response. I don’t have the exact number, but we had a very adequate response. We had a more than adequate response.”

Jones also expressed gratitude to local school officials.

“We appreciate the assistance the Griffin-Spalding County school officials provided us. They were very helpful in providing us with the assistance we needed,” he said. “With their assistance, they made the evacuation and search flow extremely well with minimal disruption.”

Griffin-Spalding County School System Executive Director of Communications and Partnerships Kimberly Willis Green did not have specific information, but said her office was notified of the alleged threat early Tuesday morning.

“This information was reported to a school administrator and then we notified the Sheriff’s Department,” Green said.

She did not know who reported this information to the administrator.

“Our office learned of it after 9 a.m. and that’s when we were told administrators had notified the Sheriff’s Department,” Green said. “Part of our protocol is that whenever we receive a threat of that nature, we evacuate the students from their classrooms. They were evacuated to their designated evacuation sites away from the school building.”
Once the searches concluded, students and faculty returned to class and both schools resumed normal operations, she said.

Jones said additional information will be released when it becomes available.

“We’re still in the preliminary stage of the investigation. It has been assigned to investigators with our Criminal Investigation Division,” he said. “We do have people working on it.”

 

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