SYLACAUGA – A racist social media post on Facebook on Wednesday threatening to harm black students at B.B. Comer Memorial School and Sylacauga High School proved to be unfounded, according to local law enforcement agencies.
The threat said an individual was “gonna’ slece and dice some peaple then gonna shoot all (the n------) at bbcomer and syl high. Want to help.”
The threats created several disruptions in the schools Thursday, including a report a gun had been found at B.B. Comer. These again were not credible and no gun was found.
The Sylacauga Police Department and Talladega County Sheriff’s Office both investigated the social media threats.
B.B. Comer was placed on lockdown for a period of time as officers made sure there was no threat to students. As this was going on, someone from outside the school placed a 911 call. More officers were dispatched to school as a result of the call, but again, no threat was found, said Kelvin Cunningham, director of operations for Talladega County Schools.
Cunningham said the school was taken off lockdown, and classes returned to everyday activities.
“The administration notified the sheriff’s department of the threat made on social media. There was no threat during school and no one entered the school threatening anyone,” Cunningham said.
Talladega County Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore said no arrests in the social media threat had been made as of Thursday afternoon. He explained it was not a credible threat.
“We are doing a follow-up investigation and are trying to determine who posted the threat,” the sheriff said. “Once we identify who made the post, where it came from, we will make an arrest.”
In today’s world, “we have to take this seriously,” the sheriff said. “We want parents and students to know they are safe and make sure that happens. We treat each and every threat as if it were real and deploy resources to make sure everyone is safe.”
The sheriff said patrols are being beefed up around schools, and the Sheriff’s Office is working with the Talladega County Board of Education to have more of a presence of deputies in schools.
Dr. Todd Freeman, superintendent of Sylacauga City Schools, said steps were taken to communicate with parents about the situation.
“Sylacauga police are on top of this,” Freeman said. “Parents were alerted during the day on the threat in an effort to make them aware of what was going on in an effort to provide them with peace of mind. This comes on the heels of what happened at Huffman High School on Tuesday and the Florida school shooting. Everyone is uneasy. But there have been no incidents at SHS.”
One student was killed in a shooting at Huffman High in Birmingham on Wednesday. Seventeen students died in a shooting at a Florida high school Feb. 14.
The superintendent said he understood the fear the social media threat unleashed in light of everything that has been going on.
Freeman said the school system and police had enacted heightened security protocols in addition to the original securing and safety plans of the school system as of March 7. He said these built-in measures are enacted whether a threat is found to be credible or not.
Cunningham said rumors flying around about incidents happening at B.B. Comer are incorrect.
“Don’t believe everything you read on social media, but if you do see or hear something that you believe is credible, contact the school system or a law enforcement official,” he said.
Cunningham said school officials wants students to be safe every day. “The school system is working on plans to make our schools safer,” he said.