“It was very frightening,” Parents concerned about safety following active shooter hoax at Blythewood High School

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2022 at 11:50 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Students at Blythewood High School continued classes online today.

They were able to go to the school to pick up any of their belongings they may have left at the school following an abrupt end to the day and also grab lunches.

Following the chaos from yesterday’s hoax --- the topic of school safety is becoming a theme again for parents.

While yesterday’s threat was just a hoax --- the thought of what if seemed to rattle the minds of a lot of students and of course parents. Safety now becoming the topic of discussion again and the idea of metal detectors is back at the forefront.

Thousands of students packed into the stadium at Blythewood High following reports of an active shooter. A nightmare for many of their parents.

“The message we received was, my baby pretty much running, crying saying we headed to the stadium somebody had a gun. So, it was very frightening.”

Shemeca Campell says her daughter is traumatized from Wednesday’s hoax. She says her daughter hasn’t eaten then and like many parents safety is becoming a concern for her. Campbell and her daughter are even bringing the idea of metal detectors back to the forefront.

“She felt that if they had metal detectors, either way, they go, they wouldn’t have thought somebody has a gun in the school if they had metal detectors. So, if the kids are for it, then I’m definitely for it,” said Campbell.

But another parent Cordell Brown says ensuring safety should go beyond just metal detectors.

He says, “It may not just be a student, it could have been a parent. I don’t want to focus on that, but we have to have parameters at all points of entry in the school. And so that’s where we actually need to start. Start with the focal point on hey, how can we enter a school.”

But there are schools that have taken that route. Schools in Orangeburg County have for instance opted into installing detectors. Richland One followed suit by installing the devices in their high schools.

“Having that sense of safety and knowing that okay those who are coming in and out, those weapons are not there,” said Craig Witherspoon, Superintendent, of Richland One School District.

James Manning, Chairman of the Board of Trustees with the Richland Two School District touts the idea of metal detectors as well as other safety measures in schools but he does feel that preventing Wednesday’s chaos was out of anyone’s hands.

“It’s hard to prevent something like what occurred yesterday at Blythewood. When you look at 17 school districts that got hit with the same issue. It’s hard to take those as cold calls and just hard to prevent those issues,” said Manning.

Manning also says when it comes to threats of shootings on school grounds the community would also be a big help in reporting anything suspicious they may see on social media or may have heard about.

Superintendent Dr. Barron Davis says he is planning to meet with the district’s security team to review their security protocols and assess what changes need to be made. He says they are looking at software and other options to make the reunification process more efficient.

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