A Broome High School freshman was charged with disturbing schools Thursday after a post on Snapchat warned of a “round two of Florida.”
Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Kevin Bobo said in a statement that deputies were alerted to a social media threat Wednesday night from the parent of a Broome student. Additional Spartanburg County deputies were on campus Thursday for added security.
A Snapchat photo of a student wearing a mask and holding an assault rifle was shown to the parent by his daughter, Bobo said in the statement. He said the photo was posted Wednesday with the caption “the words of round two of Florida tomorrow.”
Bobo said when interviewed by deputies, the student who posted the message said it was intended as a joke.
“A child may think it’s a sick joke, but we take everything very seriously,” said Sherri Horton, a Spartanburg School District 3 spokeswoman. “Whether a child considers it a joke or not, the safety of our staff and students is paramount.”
The threat came less than 24 hours after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 dead and more than a dozen injured.
The gunman, identified as Nikolas Cruz, was a former student at the school. The Associated Press reported Cruz started firing outside the school before shooting scores of people inside, resulting in the deadliest school shooting since the Newtown, Conn., attack in 2012.
Bobo said the Broome suspect’s parents allowed their home to be searched. The mask and gun from the photo were found, and the rifle was determined to be an Airsoft pellet gun, Bobo said.
“The suspect didn’t have access to any real weapons,” Bobo said.
The timing of the threat wasn’t lost on the District 3 community, Horton said. The fact the threat mentioned the shooting in Florida made the situation more serious, she said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the district down in Florida,” she said. “Obviously, that’s everyone’s worst nightmare.”
Since the suspect in the incident is a minor, the Sheriff's Office isn't releasing their name.
“The district would like to commend the student who came forward with information,” Superintendent Kenny Blackwood said in a statement. “It is this kind of courage to speak out that can and will prevent tragedies.”
District 3 officials, students and parents expressed gratitude to Spartanburg County deputies for investigating the threat quickly and preventing harm being done to anyone, Horton said.
“Before I woke up this morning, everything was already handled,” she said. “As soon as the Sheriff’s (Office) had it, they acted on it.”
The student has been taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Greenville, Bobo said.