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Columbia County 14-year-old student caught with knife, noose

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 8:07 AM EDT
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MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A student at Lakeside Middle School was found with a pocket knife and a noose on campus before he was turned over to his father, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened Monday at the school, 527 Blue Ridge Drive, according to an incident report News 12 obtained from the sheriff’s agency.

An officer reported responding upon receiving a report of “an unruly juvenile,” according to the report.

The officer spoke to the assistant principal and the 14-year-old boy, according to the report.

The assistant principal stated that several juveniles reported the boy had a pocket knife in his possession, according to the report.

Upon further search of the 14-year-old, the assistant principal stated that he found a small pocket knife, black rubber gloves and a black rope tied as a noose.

When questioned about these items, the 14-year-old “stated he did not know why he had the items with him,” according to the report.

The school administrator said several juveniles had heard the student state, “I wanna do something I probably shouldn’t do,” according to the report.

The 14-year-old stated that he had no intent to physically harm anyone, according to the report. He was turned over to his father.

When an incident like this happens, Columbia County says they have certain protocols within their code of conduct that they have to follow. They work closely with the sheriff’s office, but some parents say it’s concerning to see things like this happen.

“We need to do more for the mental health of our kids,” Columbia County parent Denise Bailey said.

Bailey has several children in the school system and she wasn’t shocked any of this happened.

“From my children, a number of people over the years who have made comments, who have carried things in, and they haven’t been caught with so it’s not a shock to me,” she said.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office says in 2018 there were eight weapon charges on school property. There were 12 in 2019, three in 2020, and none so far this year. That’s because this student was not arrested.

“We’re a support. We act in place of parents and when students do make poor decisions there’s going to be that support there along with the consequences for such a decision,” Associate Superintendent Penny Jackson said.

Parents feel the stress is getting to some students.

“We put these kids under so much pressure that there’s so much pressure to be in school to succeed in school to deal with the weight of the pandemic in a way that children shouldn’t have to deal with it,” Bailey said.

The boy’s family had no comment. Deputies didn’t give News 12 the boy’s name because he’s a minor. We do know the father’s name, but we’re not identifying him because that would identify the boy. That student does not have a criminal record with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and no known mental health issues.

What do the school rules say?

We don’t know what disciplinary action the student faces from the district. However, the district code of conduct for middle school students clearly considers the knife against the rules.

The code states:

No student shall carry or possess or have under his or her control while at a school building, school function, on school property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school any hazardous object or explosive compound. This violation may be reported to the proper law enforcement agency. Excluded are any instruments used for classroom work authorized by the teacher or school administrator. Disposition - Violators will be subject to the following disciplinary actions: Violator is to be suspended immediately and removed from school. This offense carries the recommendation for long-term suspension, expulsion, or removal from school for one calendar year. Excluded are any Instruments used for classroom work authorized by the teacher or school administrator.

• Weapons - Knife (Code #22) — possession, use, or intention to use any type of knife, including a pocket or penknife, to inflict harm on another person, or to intimidate any person.

• Weapons- Other (Code #23) — possession, use, or intention to use any instrument or object to inflict harm on another per-son, or to intimidate any person. Included in this are chains, pipes, razor blades, ice picks, dirks, nunchakus, brass knuckles, Chinese stars, billy clubs, bats, tasers, stun guns, tear gas guns, cap guns, bb guns, pellet guns, electrical weapons or devices, explosives, or propellants.

What happened in Richmond County

The outcome of the Columbia County case differed from what happened earlier this month in Richmond County when a student was found with a contraband weapon.

That incident happened March 1 at Westside High School, 1002 Patriots Way in Augusta, when a school resource officer was walking the halls and noticed a knife clip hanging on the outside of a 12th-grader’s pants. Upon investigation, the officer found a pocket folding knife with a 4-inch blade and an overall length of 9 inches, according to a law enforcement incident report.

The 17-year-old male was arrested and booked into county jail on a charge of possession of a weapon on school grounds, according to jail records.

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