Sumter Schools Explains Parent Emergnecy Notifications

7:40 PM, Jan 31, 2014   |    comments
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Sumter, SC (WLTX) -- Upset parents questioned why they received no notice of a bomb threat at their children's school in Sumter.

Thursday, an e-mailed bomb threat led to the evacuation of Lakewood High School in Sumter.

Many students called or text their parents asking to be picked up as they stood around outside.

Sumter School Superintendent Dr. Frank Baker says they usually do not immediately notify parents about drills or threats.

"We do not notify parents because usually we deal with local enforcement along with administration do a building sweep usually about 30 minutes. This one was bit different and the biggest factor in this one was the intent in the email to do additional harm besides the harm," he said.

According to Baker, the district has one emergency plan that applies to all school. That plan is broken up to include how to respond to different types of emergencies.

Baker says they worked with the Sumter County Sheriff's Department who made the decision to call in SLED to assist with the situation.

He says their travel time from Columbia and the quick arrest of the student involved also played a role in the situation.

"The suspect was arrested very, very, very, quickly, and was in custody and we had a pretty good idea based on information that law enforcement gave us that there probably was not substance to this threat, but we take every threat seriously and carry it to the Nth degree to be sure of that safety and security," he said.

Baker says the district held a debriefing Thursday evening to review their response to the threat.

He says he believes everyone followed their emergency plan exactly as they should have.

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