GSCSS, law enforcement increase school presence following social media school shooting threat

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Schools countywide had an increased law enforcement presence today, and that will continue tomorrow, in response to a school shooting threat circulating on social media.

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix on Wednesday said both his agency and the Griffin Police Department were aware of the photograph urging students not to attend school Friday, Dec. 17.

“This has happened several items in the past, but you can’t assume something is a hoax, so we’re taking it seriously . We are going to have extra patrols and an increased presence in the schools tomorrow,” Dix said. “You can’t take anything for granted.”

“Attention everyone who go to GHS y’all might take this as a joke but im taking serious. I am so tired of this school and all the teachers who don’t care and I am so tired of all the bullying im am so tired of everything on December 17 I will shoot up the school this is your only warning please don’t go (sic all),” the message stated.

While taking all precautions, Dix said nothing has specifically identified any Griffin-Spalding County school as the alleged target of a planned shooting.
“Also, if you go and do a search on Google, you see that there have been several schools across the nation that say there’s going to be a shooting at their local school on Dec. 17,” Dix said. “On the message that came out, it does not say Griffin High or Spalding High. That could be any school in the nation that uses ‘GHS.’”

Griffin-Spalding County School System Executive Director of Communications and Partnerships Adam Pugh said officials notified law enforcement immediately after learning of the social media post Wednesday.

“It looked like a screen shot that someone had redacted the name at the top and added some additional text at the bottom,” Pugh said. “We immediately contacted law enforcement, both the city and the county, and began working with them. Both of them were already aware of it and investigating.”

Notices regarding this online threat were posted Wednesday to the Griffin and Spalding high websites, as well as the GSCSS Facebook page.

In addition to the increased law enforcement presence, Pugh said additional school system employees were also in schools today.

“We had folks from Central Office – various people to provide an additional presence – on campus around the times students were arriving and being dismissed. Just for extra sets of adult eyes,” he said.

Pugh said there were no incidents in local schools today.

“Everything was very smooth, thankfully,” he said.

Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates declined The GRIP’s request for a telephone interview.

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