The Bluffton Police Department determined a Snapchat post threatening River Ridge Academy students' safety was "unfounded," and stationed additional officers at all Bluffton-area schools Monday as a precautionary measure, though that didn't stop some concerned parents from pulling their children out of class just hours into the school day.
Nearly 17 percent of River Ridge's student body — about 200 of 1,192 students — were signed out of the office Monday, according to Beaufort County School District spokesman Jim Foster. This number doesn't include students who missed the entire school day, which some parents said they did.
"It's scary," said River Ridge mother Nathalia Trejo, one of many mothers who pulled their child out of school. "It's not something I thought I'd have to think about because my daughter's in (pre-kindergarten)."
Around 10 a.m., about 20 parents stood in line outside the school waiting to check their child out, River Ridge mother Jordan Ockovcin said. She stood in line between 10 and 15 minutes to pull her first-grade daughter out of class.
"I know most likely she's probably fine there, but if something were to happen, and this was the one time I decided not to overreact, I would never forgive myself, so I decided it'd be better to go get her," she said.
Ockovcin said she received a robo-call from the school's administration about the situation at 10:24 a.m.
A parent found the Snapchat post early Monday morning, which Bluffton Police Department spokeswoman Joy Nelson declined to describe, and alerted law enforcement to the potential threat.
"We did a sweep of the school," Nelson said. "At this point, we've found the threat is unfounded, but we will continue to look into it."
Several concerned parents took to Facebook, writing that the school was on lockdown, though Foster said the school was not on lockdown.
The Bluffton Police Department had a "large presence" at the school and other Bluffton-area schools throughout the day, according to a department Facebook post.
On typical days, each school has one school resource officer. An additional SRO will be on the scene of Bluffton area middle and high schools, Nelson said.
"(It's) basically to put parents and teachers at ease," she said.
According to the district's Student Code of Conduct, communicating or threatening a school of a shooting with the intent of intimidating, threatening, or interfering with school activities is a fourth-level offense that carries a punishment of up to a 10-day out-of-school suspension with a recommendation for expulsion or assignment to the district's alternative school, the Right Choices program.
River Ridge's threat is among many reported at Beaufort County schools in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The threat was made on the first school day after a nationwide protest Saturday to advocate for stricter gun control laws. In Bluffton, hundreds showed their support in a march near H.E. McCracken Middle School.