PAGELAND, S.C. - More than 260 students stayed home from Central High School in Pageland on Thursday after a social media threat of a school shooting surfaced.
The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office said the threat was a hoax and two students were arrested in connection with it.
About 30 deputies were the high school when buses arrived in the morning.
The social media threat spread Wednesday evening, and on Thursday, and only about half of the students came to school.
"To look out for her safety, we thought it was more important to keep her home today,” said Maxie Clark, who kept his daughter home from school.
Deputies said a 14-year-old boy on an Ipad wrote the threat that warned people to not to let their friends go to school today, and added, "ima shoot up that school."
"Everybody is worried about it, and I understand that, but this was the safest place in Chesterfield County this morning,” Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks said.
A 16-year-old girl was charged after sharing the posted threat. Her mother told Channel 9 that her daughter didn't know the teen who sent it, and was only trying to warn other students so they wouldn't come to school.
Investigators said they don't believe that was her intent, so they charged her with communicating threats.
School officials said a basketball coach and a resource officer discovered the post.
"We had a basketball coach that let our principal know that he heard something on social media, and he had that screenshot,” said Chris Price, with the Chesterfield County School District.
District officials alerted parents because the threat had spread to hundreds, despite investigators saying the threat was not credible.
"The people that made this threat had no way of carrying out their threat,” Brooks said.
Deputies questioned, and then cleared Brandi Brock's son after she said the threat was made using his name.
Investigators said students are creating fake social media accounts using names of other teens as a form of bullying.
"I don't blame children's parents for keeping their kids at home today,” Brock said. “Now that this has happened, my son has an account made in his name that wasn't even his, and now he's accused."
When Channel 9 asked school officials about an alleged hit list, some said was circulating last month, they debunked that allegation after interviewing 45 students.
"There is no hit list,” Price said. “It is completely a rumor and there has never been a hit list."
District officials released the following statement:
"Chesterfield County School District has been informed that an arrest has been made related to the social media post from earlier today. We are continuing to work with the Sheriff’s Office and they do not believe there is any credible threat to the school. As a precaution the Sheriff’s Department plans to have an increased presence on and around campus tomorrow."
Both students were taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
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