COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A meeting for parents in Richland School District 1 Tuesday night centered around school safety.
The discussion took place inside the auditorium of St. Andrews Middle School in Columbia.
While District Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon insisted the meeting was not a response to any specific incident, it comes just a few weeks after a stabbing on the campus of A.C. Flora High School.
In that case, a 15-year-old female student stabbed a 17-year-old during a fight that turned violent at the end of the lunch hour on campus.
The 15-year-old was charged with attempted murder while the victim who suffered serious injuries was later released from the hospital.
Administrators and law enforcement laid out protocols in place for situations just like that while, and admit the district has faced some challenging situations.
"Recently a lot of publicity came about because of the credit union robbery on Forest Drive,” Joe Fraley, the Director of Security said. “That was a challenging time. With information I received from law enforcement, we were able to determine which schools needed to be locked down. And ultimately we locked down five schools.”
Law enforcement, including representatives from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Columbia Police department said by staying proactive on social media they can head off any problems before they start.
“I really took the opportunity to go out and learn some of the different languages that we hear from the children because I thought I knew everything,” Major Kelvin Ashe of the RCCD said. “But once we went out and try to communicate with millennials.. it’s very hard to understand. So at the time I decided to go with our younger deputies & some of the kids out in the community” to get to know what they were saying.”
The discussion also centered on active shooter situations, and explored ways to secure the school buildings in the district in ways that make sense financially. The turnout was very light, but the district has another safety meeting scheduled for parents this Monday at 6pm at Lower Richland High School.