Tougher penalties will be made for Union Co. middle schoolers who fight in school

Local News

UNION COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Tougher penalties will face Union County middle schoolers who fight in school.

Officials with the schools said fights have increased by 20-25% during the first semester.

They said they hope this stricter code of conduct will help keep your students safer.

Eric Childers, Director of Administration, said these middle schoolers will now face new consequences.

“We’re going to up our discipline policy a little bit, instead of 3 days of OSS, we’ve moved it to 5 days, and like we do at the high school, we’ve rolled down the option for our administrators in conjunction with our SROs to press charges on those students,” said Childers.

He said this doesn’t mean every single child will get punished and charged with assault.

“So, we may have one kid charged and suspended for 5 days and one kid may have just been defending themselves, and they may not get that discipline at all,” he said.

Childers said the group of students doing this is small, but is disrupts all of the student’s learning processes. He says this tougher program has proven effective with their high school students.

“We saw our instances of violence dramatically decrease once we got that up and rolling. Now, students stop, and think is it worth doing this and getting charges brought on us,” said Childers.

Sheriff Jeff Bailey said if a students is charged with assault, they’ll end up in family court.

“We can handle them and try to have some scenarios where we can work with them and make sure we don’t do harm to child and their future,” said Sheriff Bailey.

The sheriff also said they’re trying to get ahead of the fights, hoping this change will stop them from happening.

“The kids aren’t really aware of what it will cost them in the future, because the future, you know you’re looking at scholarship opportunities, being able to be accepted into college, and things like that,” said Sheriff Bailey.

Childers said they’re doing all of this to ensure the safety for their students.

“Every decision we’ve made has been, what we thought, in the best interest for your student,” he said.

This stricter code of conduct will begin on January 4.

The school also said those students who repeat the behavior a second time will receive 10 days of suspension, be recommended for expulsion, and charged with assault.

Sheriff Bailey said some students could also serve time in juvie, depending on their record.

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