GREENVILLE — A 15-year-old Greenville student was charged Friday following an investigation into a threat he posted on social media saying he was going to “shoot up” Greenville High School, police said.
Greene County Sheriff’s deputies were informed of the post, which was written on Facebook Messenger and then shared publicly on the site. Within five minutes, deputies were at the teen’s house and took him to the sheriff’s satellite office in Greenville, Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley said Wednesday.
“A parent got wind of it,” Seeley said. “We notified the school immediately. This is not something we’re taking lightly.”
The teen was brought in to be interviewed accompanied by his parents, Seeley said.
“The mother was not happy and was not sticking up for her kid,” the sheriff added.
The boy, whose name has not been released, was subsequently charged with making a terroristic threat, a class D felony, and issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Greene County Probation Department, Seeley said.
Except for the mention of a shooting, the post contained no specific plans, he said.
“We believed nothing was going to happen — it was a 15-year-old being dumb,” Seeley said. “He thought he was being funny, but guess what? He wasn’t funny.”
The Sheriff’s Office worked with Greenville Central School District Superintendent Tammy Sutherland on the investigation and the district notified parents about the incident, Seeley said. The sheriff spoke with some parents, he added.
Any student who threatens violence to a school will suffer consequences, Seeley warned.
“This younger generation is out of control,” Seeley said. “Anybody who wants to play these games and be irresponsible, we will come after you.”
Students and staff were not in immediate danger, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.
Seeley’s main goal is to protect every student in each of Greene County’s schools.
“We don’t need something like what happened in Florida,” Seeley said, referring to the Feb. 14 Marjory Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Sutherland declined to comment on what will happen to the boy when school starts in September.
The Greenville Central School District’s highest priority is student and staff safety, she said. Sutherland encourages parents to continue talking with their children about appropriate uses of social media and using good judgment, she wrote in a letter sent to parents Monday.
“As a district, we remain committed to communicating with parents and guardians,” Sutherland said. “By working together, we will continue to maintain a safe school environment.”
The Greenville Board of Education expects to approve a resolution Monday to post a school resource officer in the district beginning this fall, Sutherland said.
To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.