Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Two weapons were confiscated last Wednesday morning at Beech Hill Elementary School as students arrived.
Dorchester County Sheriff’s deputies responded that morning in reference to two students having weapons at the school. Police were advised that a loaded handgun and a knife were located in the possession of two students, the report stated.
While in the custody of police and school officials the first student said he had a handgun in his bookbag, and claimed he brought it to school with him because he was afraid of another student, with whom he rides the bus. The student alleged the second student had a knife on the bus the previous morning, and told the first student that he was going to kill a third student with the knife because he was being picked on by said third student, police said.
Police asked the first student if he actually saw the knife and he said yes, and referred to it as an “army style knife.”
The first student said he took the knife from the second student so that he would not hurt anybody with it, and kept it inside his bookbag all day, according to the report.
Later that evening the first student took a gun that belonged to his “Pa Pa” and kept it in his bookbag until he rode the bus the next morning, when he pulled it halfway out of his bag to show the second student he had it. He said other students on the bus saw the gun as well. When he got off the bus he was confronted by a school official, who asked if he had a knife. The student said no, that the other student had it, however he still had the gun, the report stated.
Chief Deputy Sam Richardson said the two students were removed from campus.
A statement was released Thursday by DD2 Public Information Officer Pat Raynor, who said it was learned that the driver of the school bus on which the students had the weapons had received information the day before of a student possibly having a knife on the bus. The bus driver, an employee of DD2, did not report the information to anyone. The driver was cited for failure to report a safety issue which was provided by a student, and the driver is no longer employed by the district.
Raynor said Beech Hill Elementary Principal Rene Harris issued a letter home to all parents on Wednesday, in which she asked for parent support in talking to their child about the repercussions and seriousness of bringing any type of weapon to school.
“All schools will be revising the district procedures and guidelines with students and staff members on this issue,” Raynor said. “She also encouraged parents to reinforce with students the importance of immediately reporting any inappropriate or dangerous situation to an adult.
“She also stated how grateful everyone is for students who knew to report the unsafe conditions to an adult and for their dedicated staff who acted immediately,” Raynor said. “The school also had the full support of district leaders and law enforcement in collecting information and making decisions to ensure the safety of all.”