Sheriff’s Deputies in Elbert County arrested a 15-year-old boy Tuesday whom they believe made credible threats against his school. Administrators at the Elbert School told parents in an email Wednesday that expulsion proceedings have begun against that student and that a staff member has also been placed on paid administrative leave.
The Elbert School is a K-12 campus with a total enrollment of about 230 students. Thompson said what happened was pretty unsettling.
"We’re a close-knit, family, small school," she said. "We feel like we know our students and to know that a student might be hurting that bad is very disheartening and it’s something we take very seriously."
Thompson said three students actually reported their classmate. A parent named Melissa told News 5 she called the authorities Tuesday afternoon hearing from her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend. They were both upset and Melissa said the boyfriend was friends with the suspect.
"He felt bad, he didn’t want to get him into trouble, but at the same time he wanted to get him help and he didn’t want anything else to happen to anyone at the school," she said.
Melissa said she asked the kids whether they reported what they knew to a teacher, and they said they did so last week.
"I don’t understand why with all the stuff that’s going on, with the shootings that are happening, why anyone wouldn’t take any kind of threat like that serious."
Thompson said the first time she heard about the threat was when the Undersheriff called. She can’t discuss the details of why the staff member is on leave but said that personnel decision came after that initial call from the sheriff’s office.
"Because of the investigation and because there’s information that we don’t know at this point in time, we chose as a district to put that person on administrative leave out of protection for that teacher and the school district so that we could ensure that all students were safe pending the investigation."
The 6th through 12th graders learned about what happened during an assembly Wednesday where Thompson applauded those students who spoke up.
"You never know what’s serious and what’s not serious. And so, it’s always important to share and if you don’t get the first person, you make sure you tell somebody else until you get somebody that’s concerned so that somebody is doing something."
Sheriff Shayne Heap said the criminal case against the student has been referred to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. A spokesperson there told us they couldn’t discuss the charges the boy may face because he is a juvenile offender.