COLUMBUS COUNTY -- Tension was high for the first day of school in Columbus County. It began yesterday when residents in the Town of Evergreen woke up to fliers all over their neighborhoods -- fliers claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan. With the start of school in Columbus County, many people were concerned about what the day would bring. This after hateful, racist fliers geared towards local schools were found all over the Town of Evergreen Sunday. Some parents were apprehensive about sending their kids to school. Cerro Gordo Elementary parent Julia Cook said, "They did not want to bring them to school today. The ones I've talked to, the parents were scared to come out here this morning, didn't know what was going to happen and all of them I've talked to said they were glad to see so many cops." Fair Bluff Elementary School closed earlier this summer because only about 120 students attended. Whoever created the fliers doesn't want kids from Fair Bluff transferring to Cerro Gordo and Evergreen Elementary schools. Columbus County Superintendent Dan Strickland said, "We have not heard one negative comment all summer since the school was closed." Strickland has this message for parents: "To work with us, just as they have been in the past. To keep a positive attitude, and we're going to do the same thing." Strickland made rounds to the county's schools on their first day and said there were no reported incidents. Cook says she's still concerned. "I was afraid that they were going to have people out here hurting people or doing bad things." Cerro Gordo Principal David Pless said the school was having a great first day, despite hearing that some people kept their kids home Monday. Pless said, "That information that was thrown out yesterday is definitely not indicative of how our community feels. We welcome all the new students from Fair Bluff and they're a part of our Cerro Gordo family now." Pless says about 80 Fair Bluff students transferred to Cerro Gordo. Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batton said deputies stepped up patrol around the schools Monday and there were no related incidents. He says they will investigate the fliers, beginning with questioning community members.
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