Pembroke, GA – School board leaders are calling a violent threat towards students at Bryan County High a hoax. Many parents, however, plan to keep their kids out of class this week, feeling uncertain for their safety.
Parents, students and community members held a prayer vigil Monday evening for their school. The community saw racial tensions turn violent over the past few weeks. They say it escalated late last week when students reported a threat of harm was made on social media towards students at the school. Many parents, like Jennifer Smith, didn’t hear the news from the school, but from her daughter.
“I had no idea any of this was going on. Evidently, it all happened last week, and the sad thing is the school has not told us anything, yet they’re supposed to protect our children,” says Smith.
Parents like Jennifer Smith and Zambia Geiger took to social media when worries for their children’s safety grew stronger, and they said no news or information about the situation was coming from school officials.
“Are the kids aware of these safety measures that you all say that you have in place? None of us know what they are, and you couldn’t explain them in detail. They didn’t get explained to us,” says Geiger.
Geiger says, in the past school year, her children have told her about their anxiety going to class after hearing racial remarks in hallways and classrooms. She says that being assured the threat was a hoax still doesn’t answer her fears as a parent.
“I would rather it be a hoax and we did something about it, versus it be real and we said ‘no it was a hoax’ and then we’re having to attend mass funerals for our children,” she says.
Leading up to the new school weak, Geiger and Smith said, without a doubt, they were not going to let their kids go to school on Monday given the lack of communication they received from the school.
“I told them last night they weren’t going, so they knew right away they weren’t going, and I’m not going to send them back until I know it’s taken care off, or they can reassure me,” says Smith.
After the school day was well over, school officials reported no weapons were found on campus during the day, and deemed the threat not credible. Parents and community members gathered with students to pray over the school. They prayed for peace and for comfort of the students and faculty as they continued another week of classes.