RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - After a threat was allegedly found written on a wall at Dutch Fork Middle School this week, tensions have been high.
Several parents called the WIS newsroom to report that students at the Lexington-Richland Five school in northwest Richland County were placed in patrol cars after at least one student was found to have a gun on campus on Friday. Those parents also told us that other students had weapons.
The district and law enforcement officials say that's just not true.
"Yesterday there was a rumor spread that there would be a shooting at DFMS circulating throughout the school," according to a district statement sent via email on Friday afternoon. "All such rumors are taken seriously.The administration has been working closely with law enforcement on tracking down the source of this rumor. While the reports have been deemed to have no validity, DFMS --out of abundance of caution-- had additional staff on hand today to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
A phone blast was sent out to all students and parents to advise them of the school's findings and of the fact that additional staff and law enforcement would be on campus today."
A Richland County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said there were no law enforcement incidents at the school today and that the department is monitoring the situation.
Incidentally, the South Carolina Association of School Administrators recently named Dutch Fork Middle School one of Palmetto's Finest.
"Dutch Fork Middle School's Hate Won't Win campaign, which encourages diversity and tolerance, continues to gain state and national attention for bringing schools and communities closer together," a SCASA news release noted. "Dutch Fork Middle School's distinction as one of only three middle schools in the state to hold Project Lead the Way Certification serves as a reminder that they are committed to providing courses, programs, and opportunities for their students."