St. James High School

St. James High School is investigating the source of a tweet about state gun legislation after the post was made from one of the school's social media accounts over spring break.

Horry County Schools is also looking into it.

The post, which was made April 8 from the official St. James athletics Twitter account, stated “Does Texas have more shootings w [sic] open gun policy?” It was a reply to a WMBF News tweet with a link to a story about the South Carolina House supporting the open carry of firearms.

Late Monday afternoon — after calls from a reporter — the response from @SJHSathletics was removed.

St. James Athletics Director Billy Hurston said he did not know the source of the tweet, nor could he say how many of his staff members had access to the athletics twitter account.

"We’re trying to figure out who posted it,” Hurston said. “I don’t know if someone hacked it or what. I don’t know that, to be honest with you. I have no idea who would have access, or why.”

Hurston said his conversation with was the first related to the matter. However, moments later — in response to another question — he cited specifics of the post and having to deal with “the fallout” from parents who were not happy with it.

He also said he has changed the password for the account in an attempt to prevent future unwanted posts. 

SJHS Principal Vann Pennell did not not immediately respond to messages seeking comment or clarification Monday.

School district spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier confirmed that district officials were looking into the post.

The comment goes against guidelines, spoken and written, from the district. The HCS personnel handbook bars staff from using “partisan political” commentary on any of the district’s communication formats, including email, the in-house list serve and HCS-related social media sites.

It was not clear if this post was intentionally tied to the Sharks’ athletics page or meant to come from another account. In the past, the St. James athletics page has included tweets that appeared to stem from someone who didn’t properly switch accounts before posting.

One of those posts could be directly tied to Hurston, as it was a reply to another member of his family.

Certain schools within Horry County have varying degrees of expectations beyond district protocols for their athletics social media pages. Most include avoiding foul language and disparaging remarks toward other schools and their fans. Some programs have even put their coaches and anyone with access to their official accounts through social media training seminars.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236


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