UPDATE | Two students arrested after fight at South Aiken High School

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Friday, May 12, 2017

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Two Students, Ladarius Mitchell and Rayshawn Williams, are paying the price for allegedly fighting and not listening to school administrators at South Aiken High during a fight.

Bond has been set at $2,847.50 each. As of 5:38 p.m. Friday, both were still in jail.

Cell phone video shows the two students starting to throw fists at each other during PowerHour or lunch period yesterday. What one officers says the video doesn't show is the students chanting while they followed one of the students around the school video taping him.

School officials say it wasn't the fight but the students who wouldn't listen to them during the fight which caused an immediate restructuring of PowerHour at South Aiken High School. PowerHour is a lunch period where students can meet with teachers, studying or mingle. The fight happened during it.

School officials say the students would not clear the way or listen so PowerHour has been changed to two 30 minute periods. Students are also restricted to only the common area and courtyard.

"You got the fight and then all the kids that surround it and then you got all the kids that don't know where to go or what to do and who want to get away from it but can't because they're trapped," Selina Swearingen said. The South Aiken High parent is in support of splitting PowerHour.

School officials emailed parents about the changes last night they also asked parents to talk to their kids about listening to school staff. They made it very clear anyone not listening during a situation like that could face out of school.

Here is the email:
"Parents and students – this is a message from the South Aiken High School Administrative team regarding changes to PowerHour and a reminder of policies and expectations for student behavior. The administrative team responded to a physical altercation today during PowerHour in the courtyard, and while the physical altercation was addressed, there was a major concern that many students not directly involved in the altercation contributed to and escalated the situation. We understand that altercations may occur; however, when students not involved refuse to follow administrative directives to clear the immediate area, clear the hallways, and return to class, administration cannot focus on containing and addressing the immediate issue, and instead must focus time, energy and resources into managing these defiant behaviors. As a result of this failure to comply with administrative directives, we will be instituting a modified PowerHour Schedule for the remainder of the school year. Effective tomorrow, students will be dismissed by 4th period class to one of two 30 minute lunch periods. Students will be restricted to the commons area or the courtyard during their assigned lunch period. Parents, it is very important that you support our efforts by speaking with your child about following directives given by administration and by faculty members and the potential consequences resulting from a failure to do so, including out-of-school suspension. These actions will not be tolerated. Students who are suspended out-of-school during exam times in the coming weeks will be need to make up exams after school during the half days."

Aiken County School District sent us this statement:

"South Aiken High School administrators responded to a physical altercation yesterday in the courtyard during PowerHour, an hour of time set aside mid-day for independent study, club meetings, tutoring and for students to have lunch in the location of their choice on campus.

While yesterday’s physical altercation was being addressed, many students not directly involved contributed to and escalated the situation when they failed to comply with administrative directives. As a result, the school has instituted a modified PowerHour Schedule. Effective today, students are being dismissed by 4th period class to one of two 30 minute lunch periods. Students will be restricted to the commons area or the courtyard during their assigned lunch period. The duration of this modified PowerHour Schedule is being discussed.

In an automated call delivered last night, the principal informed parents of the modified PowerHour resulting from yesterday’s altercation and reiterated the expectations for students. She also requested their support by speaking to their children of the importance of following directives given by administration and by faculty members and the potential consequences resulting from a failure to do so, including out-of-school suspension.

South Aiken High School’s administration and teachers are very much in favor of PowerHour and the benefits it provides and regret having to revoke that privilege for students due to yesterday’s incident."


Thursday, May 11, 2017

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Two 17-year-old students have been arrested after a fight at South Aiken High.

Officers with the Aiken Department of Public Safety say the two students were fighting in a courtyard. The fight was broken up by a school resource officer and administrator.

According to law enforcement, 17-year-old Ladarius Mitchell complied and was escorted to the main office and is facing charges of disorderly conduct, gross intoxication, and disturbing schools.

Deputies say 17-year-old Rayshawn Williams pulled away and ran through hallways in an "agitated state." He's facing charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing schools and failure to comply/resisting arrest of public safety officer, according to officials.