School Official: "We don't see it as something to take lightly"
WALKER COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) -- The Walker County Sheriff's Office has charged a Ridgeland High School student with making terroristic threats and acts.
Channel 3 has received a lot of calls and social media messages from parents with strong opinions about this story.
The sheriff's office says the 16-year-old girl's threatening text spread like wildfire among students and parents.
"Our kids are precious to us as it is, and for someone to go around saying they're going to do something like that is just sickening," parent, Jennifer Gray says.
Parents like Gray say they've already been on high alert since last week's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"They need to take things seriously," Gray says. "Everything that went on up there, I mean, I'm afraid to send my own kids to school."
She says she appreciates how Walker County Schools handled Thursday's "text threat," when a Ridgeland High student used the language "blowing school up" and sent it out to up to five other students.
But then it quickly spread to many more.
"Even if it is done in a joking manner, we don't see it as something to take lightly," says Chris Chambers, with Walker County Schools.
School officials say it's their policy to report "any" kind of threat to law enforcement to investigate.
In this case, Sheriff Steve Wilson determined it was a hoax, and the teen was just trying to get out of school early.
School officials say they're shocked this happened in light of the tragedy in Connecticut.
"What is unusual is considering with recent happenings across the country, that students would still be thinking that it's either funny or a good idea to do it," says Chambers.
The girl was arrested, but released to her mother.
She still faces charges.
Many of Channel 3's Facebook viewers have strong opinions about how the whole situation was handled.
Dan Moit posts, "Shame on her and the authorities for exercising poor judgment. Is everything terrorism now?"
While others like Haleigh Garland says, "The police did exactly the right thing. Those of you who complain about that would be the first to say they didn't do enough if something really happened!"
Walker County School officials say turning threats into police has "always" been their policy.
Sometimes it results in discipline at school, but many times there's legal action or both.