By Robin Postell
LOWNDES CO, Ga. – On Monday, August 5, it was reported to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office that a middle school student had posted threats on social media about going to the school with a gun.
Sheriff Ashley Paulk wants the public to know he and his office take this matter seriously.
“We want to encourage parents to keep a close watch on what their children put out on social media,” Paulk said on Wednesday. “They need to realize they put it out there. They may be thinking its fun and a joke but it’s not to us. Anything that looks like a threat in any way to the students or school we are going to take this very seriously. You can’t afford not to take this seriously. We’re going to be getting search warrants for where they live to see if they have any weapons. It will be a very serious thing and we are not going to ignore the process.”
Sheriff Paulk went on to say that the student was picked up Monday night and brought to the detective bureau to be interrogated with his mother, and his house was searched for weapons.
Paulk said one of the online threats was on Snapchat.
“It was pretty much along the lines that he was going to bring a weapon to school and shoot it up,” Paulk told Valdosta Today. “We were made aware of it by people who people saw it on social media and we encourage people to do the same.”
Paulk said the student’s motivations did not appear to be driven by any specific altercation or conflict, but more of an “off the cuff” rant.
On the heels of three mass shootings in the last week, Paulk was aware that there will be the “copycat stuff” with it being in the news but it is serious, and he intends to take it that way.
A 14-year-old can do as much as a 40-year-old,” Paulk remarked, adding, “He is not in custody.”Sheriff Ashley Paulk
Here Paulk pauses and iterated that the “juvenile justice said turn him over to his mother…the juvenile justice is Georgia is a joke, but we were able to get some help from SGMC for evaluation. All we can do is file a complaint and it goes to juvenile justice.”
A statement released from Lowndes County Schools Wednesday morning read:
LCS takes all threats seriously regardless of whether school is in or out of session. We always work closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our students and staff. The threat is under investigation by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. A search of the suspect’s home did not yield any items that could be used to cause injury or harm. Though the juvenile making the threat is currently not enrolled in Lowndes County Schools, we will have an increased presence of law enforcement at Lowndes Middle School tomorrow.
We take these types of situations very seriously and we are grateful for the swift actions of our Sheriff’s Office. According to Mr. Wes Taylor, School Superintendent, “The safety of our school, students, and staff will always be our top priority.”LCS release