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Sheriff: Social media hoax led to scare at Blythewood High, sheriff says

Sheriff Lott said several school districts across the state were plagued by similar bogus threats.

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. — A report of shots fired at Blythewood High School was a hoax, one of several in South Carolina Wednesday that started from a social media challenge, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. 

"This morning law enforcement responded to a call from an unknown caller that shots had been fired on the Blythewood High School campus," Richland Two said in a statement. "The Richland County Sheriff's Department responded immediately. The school was placed on lockdown while law enforcement searched the building. RCSD has determined the call was one of three hoax calls made to South Carolina schools this morning. There is no evidence of any gunfire or injuries at the school."

The district said students will be released to parents from the stadium at the high school. Parents and guardians are asked to have ID and be patient as traffic will be heavy.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the call came in at 10:25 a.m. that someone had been shot inside a specific room at the school. Lott said law enforcement responded quickly and the school quickly implemented their active shooter protocols. 

Eventually it was determined to be a hoax which Lott said started as a social media challenge on TikTok. Over a dozen districts statewide received similar threats.

Lott praised the efforts of staff and school in the way they handled this situation, and that it's something they have practiced multiple times.  

"Everybody did exactly what they have been trained to do," Lott said.

Dr. Baron Davis, the superintendent of Richland School District Two, echoed that sentiment. 

"I was thankful to the students and employees and support staff to ensure that the students follow the protocol that was put in place," Davis said.

Both Davis and Lott said there will be counselors will be provided to the students, because of the strain of what happened.

"Students are upset even though it was fake, the emotions are real," Lott said. "It was like the real deal. That's what they felt."

Lott said the FBI has joined the investigation and if the persons who made up the hoax are found they will be arrested.

"I hope they put them under the jail," the sheriff said. 

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is also aiding in the investigation.

RCSD asks the public to stay clear of the area as it is congested.

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