SOCASTEE, SC (WBTW) – Usually here at News13, we don’t report on school threats unless someone is charged.

We believe doing so causes more chaos and don’t believe it’s our job as journalists to repeat false rumors.

However, after the repeat threats this week to Horry County Schools, we asked district officials and police questions we’ve heard from all of you.

Thursday, Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill says his officers and detectives were at Socastee High School to investigate and make sure students and staff were safe after an appeared threat.

District Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says it was one of many this week, and they’re taking threats seriously.

 “The days of saying I was just joking or I was just kidding doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. That is something that we will definitely hold kids accountable for,” said Bourcier.  

Bourcier says it’s all hands on deck for the district in investigating numerous threats, keeping principals and administration busy.

“We conduct interviews with the students, we conduct interviews with the staff members. We have the ability to look at all the video in our schools and even bus video, too,” said Bourcier.  

According to the district’s handbook, making a threat against a school is considered a level three offense and could mean punishment from law enforcement.

Police Chief Joseph Hill says the threats aren’t a joke.

“I’ve been on the phone with the school board, and we’re trying to come up with some strategies to address this, but the bottom line is that we’re investigating and placing charges on these young people as we identify who they are,” said Hill.  

Hill says kids have been charged and convicted in the past and they’ll do it again.

“We’re placing  charges on them. It can range anywhere from disturbing schools, to assault, to communicating terroristic threats. We want to send a message to everyone out there that we are investigating this and you will wind up in the court system if we find that you are a part of this,” said Hill.  

Hill and Bourcier say they handle each case on a case-by-case basis for the school punishment and the penalty behind the charge.

We’ve told you this year the district replaced several of the police officers they had in the schools with armed security guards.

Bourcier says they still have police officers in some of their schools, but the ones with armed security guards are trained and just as safe as the other schools.

She says they’ve actually expanded their security efforts by adding the guards to elementary schools in the county.

“They are there for the safety and protection of the staff members, the students, and visitors of that school and they’re also there to stop a threat and contain a threat until first responders can arrive,” said Bourcier.  

Hill says he’s talked with school board members about setting up a time for drills inside the schools to make sure his officers are there and ready to help should they ever need to.