A Socastee High School student will stay in state custody under a suicide watch until a review hearing on October 5, when prosecutors may charge the teen as an adult. Police say the 14-year-old fired a gun at an officer at the Horry County school, causing a shrapnel injury. A school search turned up several pipe bombs which authorities say the student put there. No metal detectors were used at Socastee High School on the day of last week’s shooting incident, but they were used the following day.
Also, a 15-year-old student at Greenville’s Woodmont High School was arrested Thursday after he was found to have a pellet pistol on school property that officers say looked like a real 22-caliber handgun.
State Education Department spokesman Jim Foster says using the metal detectors is up to each school district. He says schools that have the detectors do not always use them because of staff shortages.
Foster says putting metal detectors into use everyday at larger high schools is a labor-intensive proposition. He says having the trained staff to operate metal detectors and perform door checks is especially difficult in this time of tight school district budgets.
Yet Foster asserts that South Carolina schools are safe:
Most South Carolina schools do have a resource officer, a full-time law enforcement officer there. But you’re talking about that officer having to monitor dozens of entrances and exits. And you typically have to have teachers help to operate metal detectors, and over the long haul, that’s not something you want teachers to have to be doing.
The Greenville teenager was suspended and is charged with possession of a weapon on school property. A Greenville school official says the pellet gun was not loaded.