COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW / WAGT) – The I-Team uncovers another incident of crime on school grounds in Columbia County that was not reported to the Sheriff’s Office. It’s the third this month.
Now the sheriff’s office, the district attorney, and the new superintendent, Dr. Stephen Flynt, will have a meeting on this and the superintendent also plans to contact his staff internally about this as well.
It comes after the I-Team began asking questions on Tuesday about an incident report that details a brawl on a school bus where a Harlem Middle School student was punched in the face on the bus and his glasses were worn. broken. The deputy noticed the marks on his face, questioned the suspicious teenager at his home, and charged him with a simple battery.
Here again, the problem is that the victim’s mother has been called to report the incident. Not school.
The sheriff’s office said it violated their agreed-upon memorandum of understanding. He says if a potential crime takes place on the school grounds, the school will call the sheriff’s office to investigate.
Last week we told you about a Greenbrier middle student charged with a felony accused of sending a death threat in a text. A relative called him to the police. Not the school police. And a third case at Columbia Middle School, an anonymous informant called him into the sheriff’s office, rather than the school principal who admitted to knowing about the case. The sheriff’s office later decided not to lay charges, but told us it was at any time a matter that should be left to them to decide.
Today, Dr Flynt declined to interview the I-Team about it, but the district provided this statement:
“With recent reports that proper notification has not taken place as agreed in the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the school district is taking proactive steps to ensure that training and communication are up to date and clearly communicated. The safety of students and staff remains a top priority and we want our community to feel safe knowing that the expectations around reporting violations of the law are taken seriously.
School administrators and security guards are reminded of this important reporting process as part of the district’s back-to-school processes. However, with three separate instances in three different schools during the first month of school, Dr. Flynt communicates directly with principals and school safety officers to ensure they have the proper training needed and to reiterate the importance of the MOU’s requirement to notify the Sheriff’s Office upon detection of a crime or upon receipt of information that a crime may be committed.
The Sheriff’s Office has also confirmed the upcoming meeting to the I-Team and discussing the current crime reporting policy and determining if any changes are needed.
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