Only On 12: Inside Cross Creek's Gang Raid

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 15, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga -- An update to a story News 12 first broke last Friday; 27 students were suspended for suspected gang activity because the school got word of a planned fight between two gangs.

Of the 27 students suspended, 15 kids are back in class, 12 kids are suspended and will have a tribunal hearing.

Thursday, Lynnsey Gardner sat down with the school principal for an exclusive interview about what is going on in the halls.

Lynn Warr has been principal at Cross Creek since it opened nine years ago and she is taking on the gang problem head on to save her students. "I love this building and I love these kids. It really brings tears to my eyes, but I really do."

So much so that Principal Warr is willing to give her students any wake up call necessary before it's too late, including suspending 27 of them last Friday for suspected gang activity.

She sent this message home with them, "You don't have to stay with this stuff; there is hope out there. This is what I want them to know, you can't always control your present, but the future is in your hands."

Since the raid, more than half of the suspended students are back in the halls at Cross Creek.

"You can't give up hope on any student. If they feel hopeless, they'll never get out; this may be the one ticket that helps get them where they need to be to move in a new direction," Principal Warr added.

And, Principal Warr is making sure she's there every step of the way, no matter how painful it may be. She's still in physical therapy after getting injured in December after walking into a fight between two students.

She cracked two vertebras and tore her rotator cuff and spent 10 weeks out of school and months walking with a cane. Many of her students worried she may retire. "I told them I’m not going out; when I got down, I'm going to dance out the door when I leave and I'm going to leave the best behind."

And, she's inspiring the best right now; Cross Creek's rising seniors just scored third highest in all four subjects of the Georgia High School Graduation Test, behind only Richmond County's two magnet schools.

Every one of the school’s sports teams have made it to state playoffs this year, which are just some of many points of pride for Warr, along with each and every one of her students.

"I want these kids to know good prevails and you know what, tough times don't last forever, but tough people do," she concluded.

As for those 12 students still suspended, Principal Warr says she is going to allow them to take their finals under supervision. Again, they will now have a tribunal hearing and may be expelled or sent to the alternative school.

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