Crime & Courts

Middle school student charged after making bomb threat, Lexington County sheriff says

5 things to know about Midlands middle schools

School performance is an important consideration when parents are choosing where to live. Here are five stats about middle schools in Richland and Lexington Counties.
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School performance is an important consideration when parents are choosing where to live. Here are five stats about middle schools in Richland and Lexington Counties.

A South Carolina boy was charged after making threats about bringing a bomb to school, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

The boy is a student at Beechwood Middle School, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

He told a classmate that he had a bomb in his book bag, according to the news release.

The 12-year-old made the threat on Tuesday afternoon while waiting for a bus in the pickup line, Lexington District One said in a news release.

The threat was overheard by another student, who reported it to a parent, who immediately reported it to the school, according to the release. The school then notified the Sheriff’s Department.

An investigation showed the boy “did not have any explosive devices in his possession,” the Sheriff’s Department said.

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After being interviewed by deputies, the student was charged with making threats to a school, according to the sheriff’s release.

The student has been suspended and is facing expulsion, the school district said.

Because of the suspension, the boy is not allowed on any Lexington One property, according to the school district. He is also banned from attending any Lexington One events, the district said.

“Lexington District One does not tolerate this kind of behavior and feels that every child deserves a safe learning environment,” the school district said in the release.

His identity is not being made public because he is under the age of 17, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The boy was released to the custody of his parents and will have to appear in Lexington County Family Court, but no date has been scheduled, according to the release.

“Lexington County School District One administration notified us about the threat after the classmate’s guardian reported the incident,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said in the release. “We responded immediately to the student’s residence for further investigation.”

Beechwood Middle is among the newest of Lexington One’s schools, opening its doors to more than 1,000 students in August.

The district said it encourages students and parents to report any safety concerns to administrators, resource officers, counselors, teachers or other employees.

There is also a tip line where safety concerns can be reported anonymously by texting 803-636-8317, or emailing 1607@alert1.us.com.

“The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority,” the school district said.

This is the fourth threat made at a Lexington One school in less than a month.

Another Lexington One student was recommended for expulsion in early August, The State reported. A rising junior at White Knoll High School was arrested and charged after he made threats to shoot up the school and to kill himself, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said.

On Aug. 22, a Meadow Glen Middle School student was removed from all Lexington District One schools after sending threatening text messages about Lexington Middle School, The State reported.

Less than a week ago, on Aug. 24, a Pelion Middle School student was charged with making threats, saying he wanted to drive his truck into the school and shoot three girls who upset him, according to The State.

Additionally, a former Cardinal Newman student caused an uproar when it was discovered he posted racist and threatening videos against the northeast Columbia campus last spring, The State reported. The 16-year-old was videotaped firing guns at targets meant to represent black people. He said he hated African Americans and used a racial slur to describe them, before threatening violence against the Catholic school of more than 500 students.

Lexington One said in 2018 an amendment to the S.C. Code of Laws created the new crime “Student Threats,” making it unlawful for a “student of a school or college in this state to make threats, to take the life of, or to inflict bodily harm upon another by using any form of communication whatsoever.” School officials must report any and all student threats.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott provides an update on the case of a 16-year-old student who made racist videos and threats against Cardinal Newman School.

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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