LIBERTY, SC — A parent volunteer at an Upstate elementary school was arrested Tuesday morning after making threats against the Gov. Nikki Haley, according to the Pickens County School District.
The parent, Jennifer Johnson Phillips, was volunteering Liberty Elementary School a few hours before the governor was scheduled to make an appearance at the school. While talking to one of the school counselors, Phillips was accused of saying “I am going to smuggle a gun in and kill this governor.”
After hearing the threat, the staff member went to the principal, who called the Liberty Police Department. The woman was arrested before Haley came to the school.
“We hope it wasn’t a serious threat, but we had to take it seriously,” Eby said.
The 46-year-old woman said she didn’t mean anything by the comment and didn’t even own a gun when Liberty police asked her about the threat. She has been charged with threatening a public official, according to the Liberty Police Department, and is being held at the Pickens County Detention Center. If convicted, Phillips could face up to 30 days and jail and a $500 fine.
The arrest didn’t disrupt Haley’s visit, Eby said. Children, parents and even some news reporters at the school didn’t know about the threat until after the governor came to the school to talk about leadership and bullying prevention with third and fifth graders, he said.