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By Heather Walters
Questions are still swirling around the case involving the 10-year-old girl who brought a gun to school at Forest Hills Elementary.
As of press deadline on Tuesday, the Colleton County School District had not responded to answers to questions about the district’s expulsion procedures in this incident, and as to where the unnamed juvenile is in the district’s expulsion process. According to district information, the Colleton County School District’s policy requires a 10-day expulsion period for bringing a weapon onto school grounds. This period includes a hearing, which will be held internally by school officials. This hearing will determine if the child can return to school, or if expulsion will continue.
The district also did not respond to questions about whether or not the girl was bullied at school, a claim she made to authorities when asked why she brought the gun onto school grounds.
According to an incident report filed by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, the female student told authorities she was bullied more than two months before she brought the gun to school. Unsubstantiated claims made by students at the school say the girl also had in her possession additional bullets and a loaded clip. According to the sheriff’s office, the child removed the gun from her father’s locked gun cabinet on a Tuesday, and then returned it back to that locked area. The father of the child had no idea she had even removed the weapon from the safe until he was notified by school authorities, according to Lt. Tyger Benson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
The juvenile will not be charged criminally for bringing the handgun to school. The child’s father is also not facing any criminal charges, said Benson. “The school district is now handling the discipline portion of this case,” he said. “We were called by the school, and, in turn, sent our officer to the school. From there, we launched our investigation.”
The ordeal has raised many questions about the school district’s protocol for alerting parents when a weapon is found on school grounds. There are also questions about whether the district’s ongoing bullying program was called into place for this child’s claims.
The Colletonian will continue to follow this story as more details are emerge.