Aiken SC Feb 1 2017 Calling it a "terrible shock to our entire educational community," the Aiken County School District has released upgraded security procedures in light of Friday night's shooting at South Aiken High School.
A news release provided by the School District Tuesday, says enhanced security measures for "major" athletic events will include:
• Each middle and high school will have uniformed law enforcement to assist with security at all major sporting events. In addition to police, school administration will develop and execute a specified plan of supervision to include enhanced security before, during, and after the event. Law enforcement and/or school staff will regularly monitor hallways, common areas, parking lots and outdoor areas. Law enforcement will take an active role in securing the building exterior and parking areas as patrons and students exit the venue.
• School staff will conduct a visual search of all bags and jackets/coats prior to entry. Students and families are asked to leave bags, backpacks and additional items at home, if possible. Per South Carolina law, concealed weapons permits are not honored on school campuses.
• Metal Detectors will be available, visible and used by school staff prior to entry, as deemed necessary.
The School District said certain training aspects will need to take place prior to some of the enhanced measures being utilized. However, the addition of uniformed law enforcement at middle and high schools was put into effect on Monday night.
“Friday night’s incident was a terrible shock to our entire educational community,” District Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford said in the release. “We are certainly relieved and thankful that none of the victims sustained life-threatening injuries and that all three are expected to make full recoveries.”
Aiken City and County police responded to South Aiken just after 9 p.m. Friday after a fight broke out in front of the school's main entrance, leaving three people suffering from gunshot injuries.
The three people hit — a 13-year-old girl; a 45-year-old woman; and a 19-year-old man — were all taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
Aside from five administrators and 11 faculty members on-site, six off-duty, uniformed police were at the school before and during the rivalry basketball games between South Aiken and Aien high schools. All had weapons on them, said Lt. Karl Odenthal with Aiken Public Safety.
The School District said they and school staff worked throughout the weekend with law enforcement to provide leads and identify potential witnesses for police.
A suspect has still not been arrested.
Meanwhile, Odenthal told the Aiken Standard on Monday additional police officers were to be present at South Aiken and Aiken at least for the next couple of days.
“While Friday night’s incident has weighed heavy on the hearts and minds of all of us this weekend, our students, athletes and staff have shown great strength throughout the last several days, many assisting law enforcement with the investigation, others returning to campus for athletic practices and academic study sessions held throughout the weekend,” South Aiken Principal Jill Jett said in the release.
Jett added, "A strong police presence and additional security measures, coupled with an increase of school counselors on-site, are part of our plans to ensure our school soon returns to the nurturing educational environment we all know and love."