Law enforcement have message about school threats

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Law enforcement agents said enough is enough with the recent rash of school threats. A teenager went before a judge in Cherokee County Friday accused of making one of those threats. Christian Whitlock, 17, attended the Cherokee Technology Center.“Threats were made to harm students and staff at the CTC,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller. He said  after the school and deputies investigated, Whitlock was charged with Disturbing Schools.“These are not jokes,” said Sheriff Mueller. “These are life impacting decisions that they’re making.Countless number of man hours involved in investigating these.” 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette said these threats will not be tolerated.“We don’t want kids to be arrested. Don’t do this. We don’t need it. They [deputies] have better things to do than chase down these threats. They have crimes occurring in other areas. We got to send that message out to make sure they understand we’re not going to tolerate this,” said Barnette. “An ex school teacher myself, can you imagine what teachers are going through? Can you imagine what the students in this school are going through?” Cherokee County law enforcement agencies met this week about the uptick in school threats.“If you post a threat – whether you do it through social media – you do it verbally to other students, if you do that and we can prove that you made those threats, then we’re going to charge you,” said Sheriff Mueller. He says they’ll also post officers at the schools even if the threats aren’t credible.“We’re going to make those charges because this disrupts the learning process for all of our students,” said Sheriff Mueller. He said it’s a disruption that can affect a child’s entire life. “Parents need to sit down and talk to their children,” said Sheriff Mueller. “When you see these things, parents and or children should be notifying the school staff – let them know the threats, notify law enforcement.”  A Disturbing Schools charge can carry fines and up to 90 days in jail. “Parents need to check their kids social media – keep up with that. When my two kids were growing up, I saw you’re not going to have a phone unless I have access to your social media,” said Barnette. “Check with them – have that discussion. As a family unit, we’ve got to stop this.” And, when on social media, parents are advised to not share postings of school threats. “We have not been successful with this in our community and other communities – quit spreading the information,” said Sheriff Mueller. “That creates more fear.”Whitlock has been released on a bond of $2,125. Conditions include wearing a GPS monitor, getting mental help, and not having contact with anyone at the school.

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