Monday, September 5, 2016

Jewish and Muslim students threatened in South Carolina - Ben Ariel

by Ben Ariel

High school in upstate South Carolina to have extra security measures after Jewish and Muslim students threatened on social media.

A high school in upstate South Carolina will have extra security measures in place when students return after the Labor Day weekend, after Jewish and Muslim students were threatened on social media, JTA reported Sunday.

A student reported the “extremely vulgar” threats to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office on Friday night, according to local media.

The threats targeted Jewish and Muslim students at Byrnes High School, saying the school would be attacked Tuesday and including pictures of a person in a gas mask and a knife with a swastika on the handle, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office took screenshots of the threats on Facebook posts.
Law enforcement told local media they would patrol the school over the weekend and make sweeps of the campus. There are 12 schools in the district, and each will have additional security, noted JTA.

“I was very alarmed when I saw the post and how vile some of the language was and how direct the threats were, and not only against our students but families of our students, and in today’s culture, the discourse that is going on and what’s happened in our own country and in other countries, we’re taking it very seriously,” Dr. Scott Turner, the district’s superintendent, said Saturday night.

“I want to ensure our parents and community that we are taking these threats extremely seriously, and are doing everything possible to make sure our campuses are secure. We are working with law enforcement to ensure the individual who made these threats is found,” Turner also said in a statement.

There were two incidents of bomb threats causing evacuations of Jewish institutions in the U.S. this past May.

In one incident, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor, Michigan, was evacuated after an unknown person called in a bomb threat.

Ann Arbor police brought bomb-sniffing dogs to the building, but no explosives were found inside the JCC or on its grounds, according to the report. Staff and students were cleared to return to the building after about an hour.

In a separate incident, a Jewish community center in suburban Phoenix was temporarily evacuated after a bomb threat was phoned in.

In the past year, several other JCCs and Jewish institutions have been evacuated following bomb threats, including ones in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Palm Beach Gardens and Maitland, Florida; and Louisville, Kentucky.

Ben Ariel


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