Pickens’ Student Issues Shooting Threat on Social Media

News, Pickens High School
shooting

PICKENS COUNTY, GA – On Thursday, Oct. 17, Pickens County School (PCS) Administrators learned that a Pickens High School Student threatened to a school shooting on social media.

The threat was a photograph posted to Instagram and featured students in a classroom with two software-simulated handguns pointed at them. The photographer is holding the virtual guns and commented on the image, ” finna get my kd up.”

The “kd” refers to kill/ death ratio and is commonly found in games that involve shooting other players or killing computer-generated characters to progress. It represents kills divided by deaths, so if a player has 1o kills and 5 deaths, their K/D ratio is 2.

School Resource Officers (SRO) immediately began an investigation into the event, and the 16-year-old student is being charged with terroristic threats as a juvenile.

Sheriff Donnie Craig stated, “A lot of kids may think that they are using social media to be funny and causing no harm, but we will have zero tolerance for threats being made against our students.”

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that they are very proud of the students for immediately bringing this to the attention of law enforcement to ensure that everyone remains safe.

This is the second instance of threatened gun violence by a PCS student within a week. The first instance occurred off school property, and the student posted that those who signed a petition against transgender bathrooms would make good target practice. This individual has already been charged for his social media posts.

It’s not known at this time if Thursday, Oct. 17’s shooting threat is connected to the transgender bathroom issue that has riled the community since last week.

Photo courtesy of Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.

Piedmont announces Judy Shaw Memorial Scholarship

Community
Piedmont Mountainside

JASPER, Ga. – Piedmont Mountainside Hospital has recently revealed details on a new scholarship in honor of one of their own.

Judy Shaw passed away in July of 2019, a wife and mother of two, Shaw worked for Piedmont Mountainside. According to her obituary, “Judy spent her life caring for others. As a nurse at Pickens General Hospital and then Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, as well as a hospice nurse for Hospice Compassus, she was one of those nurses who saw need and met it, saw pain and relieved it, who gave care and concern far beyond her job description.”

The Judy Shaw Scholarship Fund will provide support to students enrolled in nursing programs. However, the new scholarship is in early stages of development according to Senior Communications Specialist Stacy Fentress. 

“Judy exemplified nursing in so many ways and truly spent her life caring for others,” said Jamie Quinn, Past-President and Scholarship Chairman for Piedmont Mountainside’s Auxiliary. “Having a scholarship in her honor that will contribute to the education of future nurses is a fitting tribute.”

“Judy will forever be remembered as a kind, compassionate and gentle nurse who had a true love for people,” said Denise Ray, CEO of Piedmont Mountainside. “She was routinely recognized for going above and beyond in her work and for doing all she could to help her patients and their families.”

Specific details such as whether the scholarship will be available to students in nursing school statewide or limited to local students, and details about the type of help the scholarship will provide to students will definitely be an important part of the discussion coming to the development process.

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Pickens Schools’ weather and early dismissal procedures

Dragon's Corner, News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Education wishes to inform citizens of the procedures for Inclement Weather and Early Dismissal. The following is an official release from the BOE concerning parents and students.

INCLEMENT WEATHER AND EARLY DISMISSAL PROCEDURES

Do you know how your child is getting home?

Jasper, Georgia – Now that it seems we have definitely entered into winter, the Pickens County School
District wants to make sure you are aware of how we will proceed in case of inclement weather. Our
number one priority is to make sure our students and staff are safe.

EARLY RELEASE / DISMISSAL

At the beginning of every school year, each parent completes a form where a choice is made regarding what
your child will do in case school is released early. Should school ever be released early, your child will go
home based on your selection on the form. Following this procedure allows us to account for all students
and make sure they are safe, which is the most important part of what we do.

If you need to make changes, those need to be handled before inclement weather takes place. This can be
done by sending in a note to the school along with your child’s name, whether your child will be a car rider or
bus rider (include their bus number), your signature, and a telephone number. We have specific protocols
and procedures we follow because it is extremely difficult for our school office staff to handle large volumes
of calls and notify teachers with last minute changes. Also, we ask that you not email teachers with changes
in how your child should be transported for early release. There is no way to guarantee a message is
received.

HOW YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED

In the case of early release, start time delays, or school closings, the school district will utilize the Infinite
Campus Messenger service to notify parents and guardians. The Messenger service sends phone calls,
emails, and notifications to your Infinite Campus account. It is critical that you notify central registration or
the school if your phone number changes.

If there is a need for a delayed start time, we will make that call as early as possible, and hopefully no later
than 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. Weather is unpredictable, so there may be an occasion that the call comes a little
later.

For school closings, you can also tune in to Atlanta news stations, district and school Facebook pages, and
local news media – Know Pickens, Pickens Progress, and Fetch Your News.

Again, our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We want everyone to arrive
safely to their destination. Also of great concern to the district is the number of inexperienced high school
drivers who are new to driving in inclement weather.

Make certain that you take care of updating telephone numbers and transportation directions before a
weather event occurs.

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Altercation Reported with Alleged Knife at Pickens County High School

News

FYN received a release today from the Pickens County School Board involving an incident at the high school.  FetchYourNews.com will update when more information becomes available.  See release below:

Jasper, Georgia – An incident transpired at Pickens High School today and we want to make sure you
have accurate information and dispel any rumors you may hear about the incident.

At approximately 11:25 a.m., two male students were involved in a verbal exchange, at which time one of
the students allegedly pulled a knife and charged toward the other student. No injuries were reported.
Immediate action was taken by our administration and school resource officers. The student who pulled the
knife was taken into custody and charges are pending. The incident is still under investigation.

We want to assure the community that we will always take these situations seriously. We must all work
together as a community of students, parents and school personnel to keep our campuses safe. Our
number one goal is to provide a safe and secure environment for all students and staff, and we will
continue to remain vigilant in our efforts.

School threat deemed “not viable”

News
transgender

JASPER, Ga. – Despite a heavy increase in social media traffic about Pickens County High School, Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson has confirmed with FYN as of 11:15 a.m. today, November 9, that no incidents or viable threats of such have occurred on school grounds.

A press release from the School System assured citizens that what was called a threat by some was investigated and the school is responding in spite of an investigation clearing the threat. Wilson stated that last night, the Pickens County School System became aware of potential threats on the high school. The press release stated, “After discussing last night’s investigation with the Sheriff, we have determined that the social media threat is not credible.”

Despite the investigation, the two entities have agreed to increase the Sheriff’s presence on school grounds throughout today and tonight to be safe. When FYN inquired further about the issue, Wilson said there was never a threat against the school itself, but instead was two students saying things and “posturing” against each other when friends and classmates became involved. As the two students became threatening each other, the issue blew up over social media including at least Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Not even considered a bullying incident, Wilson said, “They have just had some history with each other. They’ve not gotten along.”

As the Sheriff’s office investigated the viability of these threats and mentions of weapons, Wilson said they found the students did not have access to such and have since cleared the threat. Though Wilson said there has not been disciplinary action at this time, he did say the school is remaining on the increased security today and is taking threats involving the schools seriously.

Read the school’s press release as follows:

After discussing last night’s investigation with the Sheriff, we have determined that the social media threat is not credible. However, in an abundance of caution,
there will be an increased security presence on the High School campus tomorrow. We would like to thank the Sheriff and his staff for their vigilance in
addressing this matter.

Information will be posted on the Pickens County School District website at www.pickenscountyschools.org, the Infinite Campus parent portal, district social media sites, and sent to local media.

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Wilson says, “We will charge them” in Vaping Presentation

News

JASPER, Ga. – District Attorney Alison Sosebee offered her presentation to parents that she has been showing to students this week. As a part of the chat with the superintendent program on September 24, Sosebee and Pickens Sheriff Donnie Craig joined in to inform parents about the vaping trend and the school’s responses.

Going through the same presentation as the one she offers the students, the only alterations came when Sheriff Craig added the Drug Task Forces formal response and when Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson offered the school systems official reply. Following along the same lines of thought, students and parents should begin expecting full repercussions on possession, use, and sharing of vaping devices as drug paraphernalia when viable instead of being treated like possessing cigarettes.

Sosebee also released information about those who came into contact with a substance that hospitalized five in a warrant on A1 Smoke Shop. The substance, identified as “Panaca,” a synthetic cannabinoid substance that is labeled as a “Schedule I Drug.” Sosebee compared this to Methamphetamine, a “Schedule II Drug.” She went on to note that this identifies synthetic marijuana, like that found in the smoke shop, is comparatively worse than Meth.

Wilson noted that the students have also been told that the consequences of vaping in school is increasing, and additional information from Sheriff Craig noted that criminal charges of this caliber could still involve 15 years in prison in the case of Schedule I Drugs.

As seen in the video, much of the night was spent attempting to inform parents and citizens about the issue, it was noted that the school system is taking a hard stance against the trend. Continuing to point to the fact that some may or may not know what is in the vape devices they use, authorities point to the commonality of hard drugs found across the nation in these devices as reasoning to utilize the full consequences made available in both the school’s code of conduct and criminal law to dissuade students from using these devices.

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DA Sosebee begins information campaign in schools

News, Videos
District Attorney Alison Sosebee speaking to GHS students about Vaping and drug use.

ELLIJAY, Ga – The Appalachian Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney, Alison Sosebee, began her campaign today in Fannin Middle School and Gilmer High School with presentations for students about the rising trend of vaping in all forms.

Speaking to the students she shared some of the responses that authorities have begun included harsher penalties for vape devices in general, not to mention the felonies possible with controlled substances. Using drugs in the vape devices like the popular Juul brand devices is only a part of growing concerns as authorities and administrations fear for students who expect non-nicotine flavored water vapor in devices they may find friends with when in reality these devices could contain anything from Heroin to Synthetic Marijuana.

Sosebee also invited Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Dustin Hamby to speak about the Bureau’s involvement. Hamby noted that almost 90% of his cases tied to drug usage in some way. He goes on to note that he’s had three murders in his career directly related to drug usage.

Sosebee recalled the story of a case she and Hamby shared about a guy who had taken drugs with a close friend. Under the influence, he grew greatly agitated at his friend and violently murdered him without full realization. He spoke further about how little it takes to blow up into major consequences in situations like vaping unknown substances.

Sosebee also noted that they are finding that many students and users of vape devices believe them safer than regular cigarettes. She noted that not only is there zero research to support his claim, but there is also no research or regulations on vaping devices right now. No one can tell you everything that is in Vape Juice, nor if people at smoke shops are adding extra ingredients. She called the students this generations guinea pigs for testing if vaping as they would be the cases that doctors study thirty years from now to determine the actual effects that Vaping can have in both short-term and long-term effects.

Only the first day, Sosebee is expected to travel to Fannin High, Pickens High, and Pickens Middle schools in the next two weeks along with possibly adding Gilmer Middle as well.

Author

Superintendent Wilson speaks on “Vaping” epidemic

News

Jasper, Ga – As reports continue on the rising trend by high schoolers across North Georgia using Vape devices, Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson has officially released a statement regarding it.

Calling for help from parents and guardians, Dr. Wilson reminds them that using or sharing a vaping device is a violation of the Code of Conduct and could lead to criminal charges now as five students have been physically harmed by the devices this year alone. Two of these students have been hospitalized from their use.

With the rising popularity across North Georgia, this larger issue has reached through neighboring Gilmer and Fannin counties as well.

Wilson spends much of his statement informing citizens about the devices and what they look like, comparing them to ink pens, flash drives, and even a computer mouse. The devices operate by vaporizing a liquid solution for the user to inhale.

While these device’s websites and packaging say they are intended for use with nicotine and flavoring solutions, the real danger comes in this rise of using other drugs and solutions in the devices, Wilson states that students have been utilizing THC oil (marijuana) in the devices causing a higher concentration than other forms of ingestions or inhalation.

The issue worsens as other drugs besides THC is used. Wilson quoted a CNN report in his statement saying, “Water-soluble synthetics are easily converted into liquid substances. It makes it nearly impossible to tell what is inside someone’s vape. It could be nicotine, marijuana concentrate, or fruit-flavored nicotine-free ‘e-liquid,’ popular among kids. Or worst of all, it could be a deadly concoction of chemicals, known as synthetic drugs.”

Wilson goes on to note that a student may not even know what they are inhaling until it is far too late. He adds that in these vapes, students could be inhaling “meth, kratom, LSD, or other illegal chemicals.”

Wilson invites citizens to be a part of the Monday, September 24, day of events involving the Office of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and Pickens School district as they hold assemblies for students in Pickens High School and Pickens Junior High School. There will also be a meeting for parents involving an informational meeting and the ‘Chat with the Superintendent’ at Pickens High School at 6 p.m.

Read the full statement here:

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