NEWBERRY — With the threat of a manhunt looming in the back of their minds, school officials and parents took action to protect their children Thursday morning.
The Mid-Carolina Attendance Area schools were placed on alert mode due to the pursuit of suspects in the general area.
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said parents were aware of the situation and were waiting at the bus stops with their children this morning.
Alert mode allows the instruction and learning processes to continue in a controlled environment. In addition, all classrooms remained locked and no outside activities were allowed to take place.
Deputies were on hand at the school during the day and also had increased force presence at dismissal. In the afternoon, law enforcement also checked on bus stops.
Extra precautions were taken at all entrances and specifically during school arrival and dismissal, according to Pam Arrington, executive director of human resources for the Newberry County School District. Faculties and staffs were briefed on the description of the suspects.
“Our district has a Crisis Preparedness Plan in place in collaboration with the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. Extensive training is performed each year,” Arrington said.
In regards to this incident, Arrington said the Newberry County Sheriff’s Department contacted administration at 5:30 a.m. Each principal in the Mid-Carolina area was contacted by the superintendent and/or assistant superintendent.
Those principals alerted their parents through school messenger and their faculties were notified of the alert mode though personal contact and electronic media.
District administrators were in the schools in the Mid-Carolina area to assist as needed. Principals were given procedures to follow for school release and after school activities, Arrington said.
Lynnette Lever, school nurse at Pomaria Garmany Elementary School, said the kids had a good day and it was an overall calm atmosphere.
Because of their careful training, Newberry County School District faculty, staff, and employees were able to keep their students out of harm’s way while still allowing instruction to continue.