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On May 6, 2021, an emergency incident occurred on a school bus near Eagle Park Road and Percival Road. The school bus was transporting elementary students to Forest Lake Elementary when an unauthorized individual with a weapon got on the bus. 

All of the students and the bus driver were able to get off the bus safely. The students were transported to their school where they received support from school employees and counselors and were reunited with their parents/guardians. The parents of the students on the bus were contacted personally and informed about the situation. An email notification was sent to all employees and parents in the district to notify them that district and school officials were responding to an emergency situation with assistance from law enforcement. 

Richland Two Board Chair James Manning said, “On behalf of the Richland Two School Board, we are so thankful that our students and bus driver are safe. We appreciate the fast response and the cooperation we received from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Columbia Police Department. Our school district practices for emergency situations and today that practice proved to be immensely beneficial.” 

The suspect was taken into custody by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. During the pursuit of the suspect, multiple schools in the area were placed into lockout as a precaution. A lockout means students outside were brought in and no one was allowed to enter or leave the building. During a lockout, the activities of the school day continue as scheduled.

“We are so fortunate and grateful that this incident ended peacefully thanks to the actions of our bus driver, our students, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Columbia Police Department, the S.C. Highway Patrol and other first responders,” said Dr. Baron R. Davis, Superintendent of Richland School District Two.

The driver's calm response exemplified the training he received through a Safe Pupil Training course. This course is required training for district bus drivers. 

Davis said, “Once we were certain all students were accounted for and physically safe, we immediately began deploying social and emotional counseling resources to the school so that our students could begin the process of healing as they are dealing with a traumatic event. We will continue to provide counseling services for the students and their families, our bus driver and employees as long as necessary. We will also cooperate fully with law enforcement as they investigate this incident fully.”  

The Richland County Sheriff's Department held a news conference to update the public about the incident. Richland Two Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis and Board Chair James Manning participated in the news conference, which can be viewed on the RCSD Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RichlandCountySheriffsDepartment/videos/305681837604247