Berkeley County Schools Officials Explain How They Assess Threats

posted by Bill Burr, WCIV - 

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Tuesday's threat of violence at Cane Bay High School brought sheriff's deputies and school officials together. Berkeley County School District officials say they followed procedure in examining the nature of the possible danger.

"There's never going to be a time that we receive threats that law enforcement aren't aware of that. Aren't present as we're investigating, and aren't a part of the decision making of determining whether or not its credible," said Katie Tanner, public information officer for the school district.

Tanner explained how each school's safety team works with the district's safety and security coordinator. Sheriff's deputies and police are called if a threat is deemed urgent.

"Sometimes it’s that a student can relay some information that quickly helps us determine where a threat originated. Other times it’s going to be left up to trying to track down a social media post or trying to determine where a phone call came from," she said.

School officials worry anxious parents who rely on rumors through social media can create additional panic. That's why police remind them to be responsible when reading reports that are unconfirmed.

"If you see something out there that doesn't seem right, that makes your hair stand up, that makes you feel unsafe, we need to know about. And the best way to do that is to call us," said Inspector Chip Googe of the Mt. Pleasant Police Department.

They're procedures for protecting students and teachers from dangers that lurk online and elsewhere.

"We take safety and security of the schools very personally," Tanner said.

She explains when a school is on lockdown, parents who show up to pick up their child can cause more confusion for authorities as they investigate the campus.

Tanner recommends checking text alerts and phone calls from the school district, or looking at the school system's social media pages for accurate, timely information.

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