Marlboro Co. school board members address communication issues following threats

Marlboro Co. school board members address communication issues following threats

BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - The Marlboro County school board members are reworking policies for communication during possible threats to school security.

The school board voted unanimously Thursday night to improve protocol when somebody threatens the school district no matter the validity of that threat.

School Board Chair Lucy Parsons had scheduled the meeting after she heard about communications issues when the threats were received.

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She said district staff knew about the anonymous letters board members had gotten in the mail, but did not inform McColl Elementary Middle School right away.

She said the school found out when it got its own letter last Wednesday. That letter threatened "Columbine and Sandy Hook Two," according to the police report from the Bennettsville Police Department.

That notification issue is what the school board addressed during its executive session and why it voted to improve communication at the called meeting.

Nearly 200 people crowded the media center at Marlboro County High School for the meeting.

"What I was hoping for was reassurance that everything was under control and that's exactly what we got," said Gwendolyn Harrington, whose son is a freshman at the high school.

Superintendent Dr. Helena Tillar said she's satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and with how safe the district's schools are overall.

"We haven't had any incidents and our kids have been safe and our staff members have been safe," she said. "We'll continue to work on strengthening our protocol and making sure everyone is informed at all times."

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