Guns in Greenville schools: What you need to know about how your children are protected
This article was originally published with The Greenville News on March 7, 2019.
When students at Woodmont Middle School reported seeing a boy with a gun on a school bus, the school resource officer and other law enforcement responded to the scene on North Flat Rock Road, where a 12-year-old in sixth grade was apprehended with a loaded pistol in his backpack.
The school’s exterior doors were locked and no one was allowed in or out of the building amid a partial lockdown. Parents were informed via school messenger phone call once the situation was under control, said Greenville County Schools spokeswoman Beth Brotherton.
No one was injured then or later Thursday when a fifth-grader who’d threatened to shoot another student was found with an airsoft gun at Oakview Elementary in Simpsonville.
No lockdown went into effect at Oakview, but there and at all other schools across Greenville County, safeguards are always in place to protect students, according to the district.
Protocols include locking exterior doors as standard practice, safety drills on an ongoing basis and secure entries where school staff are required to grant access to visitors to enter holding areas.
In addition, all high and middle schools are staffed with at least one full-time school resource officer, and law enforcement officers visit and check all other schools multiple times each day, including unannounced inspections.
School district officials praised the “brave students” who came forward and reported what they saw on Thursday. Information provided by students is often key to intervention.
“We tell students often that ‘if you see something, say something.’ It is one of the best ways to keep a school safe,” Brotherton said. “Parents should be patient and understanding. We communicate as quickly as possible, but administrators must deal with the situation at hand and ensure student safety first.
"At no time this morning were students at risk or in a position of danger."
The students who brought weapons on campus Thursday have been suspended and recommended for expulsion, Brotherton said. Brotherton said state law requires any student who brings a gun on school property be expelled for 12 months from the data of the infraction.