Students at Socastee High School say the school resource officer who was hurt in the shooting Tuesday is a real hero, and they've come up with a way to publicly show their appreciation to Officer Erik Karney.
They're saying things like, "Thank you, Officer Karney, for your dedication," "Nice job," "You're an inspiration," and so on, and they're using the most popular social media web site to do it.
Within hours after the shooting Tuesday, students had created a Facebook site titled, "Officer Karney Saved Socastee High School." Scores of fans posted comments including, "Thanks for your quick thinking and quick action", "God bless you and your family!", "I am truly grateful for your bravery."
Students we talked to say the Facebook page was the least they could do for someone who went above the call of duty. "He could have just ran off or called backup, but he did it all by himself," said Socastee senior, Jennifer Garcia.
Karney has been the S.R.O. at Socastee since 2006, and in that time, junior Vanisha Patel says he's become more than just a police officer. "He can be a friend to you. He can be a mentor to you He's just very likable."
One recent Socastee grad says Karney gets involved in the students' lives outside the school walls. "He does so much for the school, especially for the Special Olympics. He's a pretty awesome person," said Kayla Lutz, who graduated in May.
While Karney remains on leave, students are using the Facebook page to exchange ideas on ways to welcome him back. No doubt, Karney's actions to subdue the young shooter, and the Facebook page thanking Karney, are the talk of the school this week. "I've heard people like in my classes saying, 'I can't wait for Officer Karney to come back just so I can shake his hand and tell him thank you,'" said Dianna Frykenberg, a sophomore at Socastee High.
Police say Karney is on medical leave for now. They're not sure when he'll come back to school, perhaps two weeks. And when he does, he is sure to get a very emotional welcome.
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