Trouble in Schools: 14 incidents reported from Feb. 27-March 29 | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | April 5, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: April 5, 2018 at 8:30 pm
March was a bad month for crime in Colleton County schools. Fourteen incidents considered serious enough to report to the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office — four threats to shoot up schools, three incidents involving cell phones, one assault, two fights, one weapon at school and three drug-related incidents (see list of incidents below) — have been reported since Feb. 14, two weeks after the Florida school shooting in which 17 were killed and 17 wounded.
Colleton School District Superintendent of Education Dr. Franklin Foster is concerned but feels the schools are safe. “One of the things I would say to the parents is that our students are safe at our campuses. We have to make sure we’re doing a combined effort for the safety of everyone. We have measures in place. My staff has to enforce those measures consistently,” he said. (See related story for complete transcript of the interview.) “We’re taking things seriously. We’re not trying to sweep things under the rug and say our campuses are squeaky clean because there are issues that we’re addressing. But we’re working on everything that comes up and we’re trying to be proactive and see how we can eliminate things from happening.”
1) Feb. 27, CCMS, Simple Assault
A school resource officer was approached by a teacher on March 5 during lunch period and asked if they could “run something by me.” The teacher provided a scenario where while teaching a group lesson on the Civil War, several students got a “little rowdy.” In the scenario, the teacher went to the desk to call a coach and during this process, the suspect came up in an attempt to grab the phone and when doing so with so much force, knocked two teeth out of the teacher’s mouth. The teacher asked if this was considered assault.
The SRO contacted the solicitor for juvenile cases who said the incident could be considered assault. The principal was then contacted and told the SRO he would be returning to school on March 8.
On March 18, the SRO, the principal and a school administrator met and provided a written statement of the incident and told the SRO that … did not wish to pursue criminal charges against the suspect, only wanted to document the incident to insure medical bills were covered along with missed days of work. (Name withheld) was provided a victim’s rights information card and signed a victim’s notification form on which the SRO noted … did not wish to pursue charges. As a result, DJJ (Dept. of Juvenile Justice) was not notified.
2) March 6, CCMS, Suspicious Activity
The sheriff’s department was notified regarding a photo being sent around the school with …’s face Photoshopped onto someone else’s naked body. A bus driver reported seeing the picture on a cell phone. The victim said … had sent a naked photo through SnapChat and that when the victim got on the bus to go home, everyone laughed at … and finally showed the picture being sent around the middle and high schools. The victim did not want to tell their mother the truth about the phone, wanted to talk to the principal and did not want to ride the school bus any more.
The deputy notified the school SROs and explained to the victim how to get a copy of the report.
3) March 6, Northside, Threats
A deputy responded to Northside Elementary School’s phone request for law enforcement to get in touch with a student’s parents in reference to the juvenile bullying and threatening to “shoot up” Northside Elementary. The caller said law enforcement needed to be contacted due to the severity of the threat.
The caller also said they wanted to try and handle the incident between the parents; but was aware that the juvenile was saying they did have access to weapons, so the school contacted law enforcement to make sure the incident was documented.
4) March 6, CCHS, Suspicious Activity
A deputy was contacted by school radio in reference to a student showing a video on SnapChat on March 5 from a student involved in an incident at school where … made threats to shoot another student and was placed on suspension. The video showed the school from a vehicle leaving the campus with the mother. It also had a picture with the post “Remember that March is Buy Your Husband A Gun Month” with a picture of a bolt-action rifle.
The school district’s hearing officer was contacted.
5) March 7, CCHS, Disorderly Conduct
A CCHS SRO responded to the report of a fight. Two teachers asked the suspect to leave the class and go to the office, but the student refused. When the SRO asked the student to do as requested, the subject started cursing and walked off. Two teachers then tried to get the subject out of the classroom and the student began fighting with them. The SRO then asked the subject to put their hands behind their back to be handcuffed and the student refused. The two teachers had a “physical struggle with the subject to get the handcuffs on.” The student was escorted by one of the teachers and the SRO to the SRO office.
The student was charged with disorderly conduct and a petition was filed with DJJ.
6) March 9, CCHS, Unlawful Communications
On March 9 the SRO met with two teachers concerning a subject sending messages to the victim through social media in class.
When one teacher asked the subject what made them send the threatening messages, the subject said the class was working on a group project and they did not want to work with the group they were assigned to. One of the students in the group started talking about another.
The subject sent the victim a message stating “Shut the **** up. I will do whatever I want. All you do is run your mouth. (F*k off).”
The victim replied, “So do you and sometimes you don’t know when to quit.”
The subject: “Listen, you better watch who the f*k you are talking to before your *** ends up in the hospital and that is a promise *****.”
The teacher said the subject would not be able to use the school’s laptop for two weeks, and that they had made an unsuccessful attempt to contact the subject’s grandmother.
The SRO told the subject about the consequences of making threats on social media and that a petition would be filed with DJJ.
School officials and the SRO met with the subject and grandmother on March 10. The grandmother said she had been told by several different students in the class about the student making threats, including a threat to kill another student. The student, when asked, also admitted to making a previous statement about a fire being at the high school.
The grandmother said she had taken the student to mental health and the emergency department concerning threats of killing people in the past, but did not get any support from them.
She was advised to get a copy of the report and go to mental health.
7) March 12, CCHS, Simple Assault
The SRO met with a teacher who reported two students involved in a fight in a classroom.
When asked about the fight, student #1 said student #2 “was talking ****” and they were “not in the mood today.” Student #1 then hit #2 multiple times, resulting in swelling on the left side of the face and a small cut on the nose of #2. Student #2 said they did not know why they were attacked.
The parents of both students were called to the school office, as the two had been in previous altercations.
The SRO filed a petition with DJJ for third-degree assault and battery against the assailant. The other student was not charged due to not fighting back.
The school also issued punishment, according to the report.
8) March 12, CCMS, Weapon on School Grounds
On March 12 a deputy responded to the coach’s office at CCMS in response to a report of a weapon on school grounds. The coach said he received a phone call from an art teacher at CCMS saying another student saw an object fall from the suspect’s pocket while they were seated in class and retrieved it. When the student gave the object to the teacher, the teacher realized it was an extended blade box-cutter.
The coach said he demanded the teacher take possession of the weapon and hold it until an administrator arrived.
The student told two teachers that he brought the box-cutter to school for protection from another student.
A deputy returned to the school on March 13 to talk with the suspect’s parents. He explained that since the razor on the box-cutter exceeded two inches, a juvenile petition was completed for carrying a weapon on school property. After the parents signed a custodial promise, the student was released to them and advised of further investigative procedures.
9) March 12, Hendersonville Elementary, Suspicious Activity
A deputy on patrol at Hendersonville Elementary was summoned by a teacher in reference to a student threatening to blow up the school and shoot students in the class. The student allegedly also identified students that would not be killed.
When asked why, the student said, “She stole my sucker and I paid good money for it and I wanted it back.”
The student has a history of making threats of violence against staff and students.
The parents were notified and school procedures for this type of incident were explained. The student was released to the mother.
10) March 20, Northside Elementary, Narcotics Violation
School staff contacted the sheriff’s department concerning a student in possession of a marijuana blunt. The blunt was seized and turned into evidence to be destroyed.
The child’s parent and DSS were notified, as the suspect was too young to charge.
11) March 20, CCMS, Disorderly Conduct
A teacher reported that during her sixth-period class, she was alerted by several students that the suspect said they were going to kill everybody. When confronted, the student told the teacher, “I’m going to shoot everybody in the head.”
The deputy was given 10 statements from students and the teacher stating what had occurred.
The suspect was asked why and responded, “I hate these kids at this school. They bully me. Today they called me a fat black ugly …”
An investigation revealed that no recent reports had been filed by the student about being bullied this school year. The only documented incidents were last year.
The parents were called to the school and a custodial promise was completed. The procedure and severity of the crime were explained to the family, after which the student was released into the parents’ custody.
A petition for disturbing the schools was filed with DJJ.
12) March 22, CCHS, Simple Possession
A Colleton County High School student was arrested March 22 on a drug charge after he allegedly attempted to elude being discovered during a canine drug search of the classrooms.
Colleton County Sheriff’s Office canine teams were preparing to search a classroom when the principal entered to the room to instruct the students on where they needed to go while the canine search was conducted.
According to the incident report, the principal reportedly watched the high school junior, carrying a water bottle, go to a cabinet, pull it away from the wall and step behind it.
She told him to come out from behind the cabinet and when he did, he reportedly no longer had the water bottle in his possession.
She checked the cabinet, found the water bottle and picked it up. She reportedly noticed a plastic bag containing a green leafy substance inside the water bottle and turned it over to a deputy.
The incident resulted in the arrest of Devon M. Farmer, 17, of Walterboro on a charge of simple possession of marijuana.
13) March 28, NSE, Disturbing Schools
A deputy responded to Northside Elementary School on March 28 after calls from the school and parents that students were afraid, due to a threat in the seventh-grade boys bathroom. The threat stated “I’m going to shoot up the school at 10 a.m. tomorrow.”
The investigation led to several deputies patrolling the school building at 10 a.m. While the deputies were in the hallways, a middle school administrator asked they return to the office where he told them a student admitted to writing the threat “as a prank in the school.”
The student was charged with disturbing the schools and malicious damage to property. The suspect was released into their mother’s custody after a custodial promise was completed.
The incident will be transferred to DJJ.
(See complete story on crime page.)
14) March 29, Drugs
When a school bus carrying students to class arrived at Colleton County Middle School the morning of March 29, the students found themselves facing a team of school officials and Colleton County Sheriff’s Office personnel, including Sheriff Andy Strickland.
The incident that resulted in three students being taken into custody started about 7:46 a.m. when a school bus driver smelled marijuana on the bus.
When the bus arrived at Colleton County Middle School at 1379 Tuskegee Airmen Dr., school representatives and Sheriff’s Office personnel were waiting to search the bus.
As a result of the search, 9.28 ounces (more than one-half pound) of suspected marijuana was located in student items on the bus.
Two juvenile suspects — one a middle school student and the other a high school student — were transported to the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office Annex, where they were interviewed and subsequently released to their parents, pending prosecution in a juvenile court of law. They could face charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
After being removed from the bus, Colleton County High School student Phoenix Tmia-Danielle Brown, 18, of Jacksonboro was reportedly ordered to stop talking on her phone after interfering with the investigation.
SWhen she allegedly continued to ignore commands, Brown was taken into custody on a charge of disturbing a school.
A search of Brown after she was taken into custody found a pink taser (rated in excess of six-million volts) and a pink can of pepper spray inside her brassiere, according to the report.
Brown was transported to the Colleton County Detention Center on charges of disturbing a school and possession of a weapon on school grounds.
(See complete story on crime page.)