Recent threats of violence at schools like A.C. Flora and Lexington High Schools have come since a new law was passed in South Carolina. Lawmakers recently passed legislation that will help law enforcement arrest and charge anyone who does not attend the school for disturbing or making threats to the school, students or staff.
“In the past it was, we might get something and maybe we could build a case around it or maybe we can’t. now if we have clear communication that they’re going to do something we have a statute, something we can fall back on and make a charge to prevent it from happening, says Springdale Police Chief Kevin Cornett.
Senator Katrina Shealy says the new law is a step in the right direction.
“It’s very important legislation considering all of the school shootings and violence we’ve had lately.”
Law enforcement who work in local schools also see the importance of relationship building between police and students.
Cornett says, “We can get a lot more done when we can sit down and talk as opposed to just enforcing laws. laws are great, we have to hold people responsible for the actions that they do, don’t get me wrong. but I think not everyone has to go to jail. and especially for younger people, it’s about spending that time where someone else isn’t.
Senator Shealy says, “You can’t legislate this, I think it’s more of a mental health issue. more so than a violence issue. I think that’s one of the things we must look at much more seriously."
Under the new law, if someone is charged with threatening violence against a school they’ll be charged with a misdemeanor and could face as much as three years in prison and fines up to $3,000.