Columbia schools under heightened security Friday amid rumors
Superintendent Chris Belcher says Columbia Public Schools will be under heightened security tomorrow following rumors and chatter about a possible planned violent act at one of the district’s schools. In a letter to parents today, Belcher said the district and the Columbia Police Department have investigated the rumors and can’t find any credible evidence.
Nevertheless, the district will take steps to ensure security at its schools. In the letter, Belcher says all high school campuses will be closed campuses – meaning students can only leave school for academic or other designated reason – like employment or parental permission. He also says there will be increased police patrols around the buildings, students may be searched if necessary, and there will be controlled access through specific doors of each school.
Belcher calls these rumors “terroristic threats,” that are punishable, and asks for help in ending disruption of learning. In the letter, he also asked parents to call his office or the office of a school principal if they have any questions.