Students advised to ‘Keep it, don’t delete it’ when they see online school threat


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The nine students at Sterling School’s Charles Towne Center Middle School in Greenville County charged Wednesday with threatening a teacher may have parents wondering what they should teach their own children at home about threats at school and how to report them.

As tech savvy as they are, how do they know when something is a serious threat?

The rule “if you see something say something” started after 9/11 when the way we viewed threats and how we responded to them changed.

District leaders said it’s a good idea to make sure your child knows what that means for them at school.

“We have to take every threat seriously,” said Beth Brotherton, spokesperson for Greenville County Schools.

Brotherton said all threats that come to the attention of administrators are investigated.

Threats made on teachers by a student are viewed differently than situations between students.

“The consequences are severe and I think that’s the message parents need to have with students,” she said.

The district considers a student threat against another student a Level 2 offense. That means the principal has the discretion to suspend and/or recommend expulsion.

A threat against an employee is a Level 3 offense.

That’s an automatic suspension and review for expulsion.

Brotherton said that’s because it crosses a different line and takes it to a level of disrespecting an adult and undermining authority.

Either way she pointed out both carry heavy punishment and students need to report any threat involving their classmates that they see online or hear.

“It is always better to tell and have it investigated then to say nothing and have something bad happen,” she said.

Brotherton also said to tell your kids that if they see a threat not to share it or engage with it.

Rather she said “keep it, don’t delete it” because it is easier to investigate when the original message is accessible.

Most improtantly, she said they need to report it to an adult.

“If you are a member of a group chat or have received a message that’s concerning, absolutely as a student in those cases that still applies to the see something say something,” she said.

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