Letters sent to Marlboro Co. School board members threaten 'Sand - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Letters sent to Marlboro Co. School board members threaten 'Sandy Hook Two'

Convocation plans changed after Marlboro County School District threatened Convocation plans changed after Marlboro County School District threatened
Source: Marlboro County School District on Twitter Source: Marlboro County School District on Twitter

MARLBORO COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Marlboro County School District has canceled Friday’s back-to-school convocation after two members of the school board received a letter threatening “Sandy Hook Two” if the convocation took place.

According to a police report from the City of Bennettsville, letters received by the two board members on August 12 stated: “Vote of no confidence for Dr. Tillar Superintendent Marlboro County School District. If the convocation takes place on Friday, August 14, 2015 or if Tillar is present or allowed to address the audience in any way, Columbine any [sic] Sandy Hook Two will take place in the gym on Friday and at McColl School next week.”

The letters were sent to the post office box of one board member and the home of another.

On August 12, the Marlboro County School District sent an alert stating that they received a threat to its security which was turned over to law enforcement.

“While instruction and learning are our main focal points in the district, the safety, security, and well-being of our students and staff is a top priority,” the release states. District officials stated on Wednesday that no immediate danger was discovered."

On Thursday evening, the district sent out a notice that they will instead observe convocations at each individual school. The convocations will include a video message from the state superintendent, Mollie Spearman, and a message from district superintendent Dr. Helena Tillar.

"Nine people came up to me today spontaneously and thanked us for that decision," said Lucy Parsons, chair of the Marlboro County School Board.

That decision was reached after a Wednesday night board meeting with the school board, Marlboro County Sheriff's Office, Bennettsville Police Department and McColl Police Department. The initial vote was to continue to hold the convocation. The board then decided Thursday to cancel it.

Parsons said the benefits of the convocation didn't outweigh the risks.

"It does not make sense to me to bring the entire employee body of the school into one area where somebody is threatening shooting, which Columbine and Sandy Hook would be shooting," Parsons said.

Monday is the first day of school for Marlboro County School District students. A representative for the school district said everything is expected to run as normal.

Parsons said students and staff are prepared if anything ever does happen.

"I think we're ready," she said. "I hope we never have to use it."

SLED is investigating the threats.

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