RCSD: 2 students charged after gun found on high school campus

RCSD: 2 students charged after gun found on high school campus
Published: Mar. 15, 2018 at 12:14 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2018 at 2:09 PM EDT
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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Two A.C. Flora High School students have been arrested and charged with weapons on school grounds, according to the Richland County Sheriff Department.

On Tuesday, deputies say the School Resource Officer at A.C. Flora was contacted by the school administrator about a student having a loaded magazine in his bookbag. Students also reported seeing someone throw something into the bushes on school grounds. Deputies say a brief search turned up a Smith and Wesson .380 handgun.

Deputies say one of the 16-year-old students was released into the custody of his parents while the other 16-year-old was transported to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. According to the solicitor's office, one of the teens met the criteria to be detained while the other did not even though they both are being charged for with the same charge.

The names and mugshots of the students arrested have not been released because of their ages. An explanation from the Solicitor to the Fifth Judicial Circuit spells out why one of the juveniles "met the criteria" to be sent to jail.

Under South Carolina law a juvenile is only eligible for detention in a secure facility pursuant to Section 63-19-820.   At the time of this incident the juvenile that was detained was on probation and being monitored by the Department of Juvenile Justice.   While both juveniles charged could have been detained pursuant to the statute detention is not mandatory if the officer believes that the juvenile can be supervised adequately at home.

Related: Sister of Charleston church shooter, Dylann Roof arrested for bringing weapons, drugs to Midlands high school

Sheriff Lott says at no time were any of the students in danger. The sheriff credits the quick actions of the SRO, the school administrative staff, and law enforcement for swiftly identifying and charging those involved.

A.C. Flora's principal, Susan Childs, posted the following letter to parents and students on the school's Twitter page on Wednesday:

Dear Flora Family,

AC Flora is fortunate to have a close and caring community which is open to sharing information. I want to thank those of you who have called to share concerns about what you may have heard from our students. In an effort to stop rumors, I would like to explain recent events that have occurred at AC Flora.

As many of you know, today was set as a time for a student walkout. Our student leaders had asked to be allowed to spend seventeen minutes to remember each of the victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. This student-led event was voluntary. The walkout went well with only a minor verbal disagreement that occurred at dismissal from the event. A rumor then started that a certain student had a weapon. This was heavily investigated and found to be inaccurate. In a separate situation, a student used social media to post a hateful message. The posting was not a threat, but was extremely inappropriate. That student was dealt with in a swift and severe manner as the posting caused quite a disruption.

In an isolated incident yesterday, administration was notified that there was possibly a weapon on campus. Through diligent work from the Assistant Principals and the School Resource Officers, an unloaded weapon was recovered. The investigation of this matter involves law enforcement as well as school officials. Discipline for students involved will follow the Richland One Code of Conduct.

I realize that rumors and the tragic school shootings in Florida are events that can cause anxiety for our students, parents, faculty, and the community. Be assured that the safety of our students will always be our top priority. We must continue to work together to maintain a safe and positive learning environment. Please feel free to contact me at 803.807.8697 if you have questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Susan Childs

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