Student charged with making threats at Chester County middle school

Chester Co. school under investigation

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - South Carolina’s Sixth Circuit Solicitor is calling on SLED to investigate the Chester County School District and Lewisville Middle School administration after a student was charged with making threats in October.

The Chester County Sheriff’s Office says it began investigating an alleged threat at Lewisville Middle School on October 25th. Major Dwayne Robinson says someone reported an “inappropriate drawing” by a student. Major Robinson says the claims were corroborated and the student was charged.

The incident was not reported to law enforcement by the Chester County School District. Major Robinson says the district has not been cooperative in the department’s requests to be forthcoming about incidents that could compromise student safety.

“We’ve asked them {Chester County School administrators} to contact us immediately so we can be ahead of the curve and we’ve had no avail to that,” Robinson said.

Parents who were picking up their children from Lewisville Middle School Tuesday say the district sent a letter home a few weeks ago.

“We got a letter saying there was a threat at the school but that it was a hoax or a rumor,” Parent Mindy McFadden said.

Others say they found out about the alleged threat online.

“With all the stuff that’s going on today with schools you would have thought we would have heard it through the school,” Parent Drico Craig said.

Sixth Circuit Solicitor Randy Newman called on SLED to investigate how the district handled the incident. He released this statement Monday night:

“The Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office is aware of an incident that occurred recently at Lewisville Middle School where a juvenile student was charged with making threats. We have asked the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to conduct an investigation into the incident and the actions of the administrators at Lewisville Middle School and the Chester County School District.

Solicitor Randy Newman stated, “This day and time, we cannot be too careful. We must take even the smallest threat seriously and we must have the proper authorities investigate every incident. Not only should we all work together to ensure the utmost safety of our students and teachers, all agencies must follow the law.”

This office will have no further comment on this situation as this is an active ongoing investigation.”

Chester County Schools Superintendent Dr. Angela Bain responded to community concerns with this statement:

“Over the past several days, media outlets have reported that an eighth-grade student at Lewisville Middle School threatened students through a drawing he made on his school work. Understandably, these reports have raised concerns from parents and others that students in our District are not safe and that school and District officials do not take threats against students seriously.

These reports are inaccurate. As Superintendent, I want to set the record straight and ensure our community that students at Lewisville Middle School and across the District are safe.

In a news station report dated November 9, 2018, the threat is described as follows: “a graphic picture depicting him shooting another student in the head.” This report is wholly inaccurate. The drawings in question, which were made by the student on a completed school assignment, are not of a school nor do the drawings show an intended target or identify the student as a shooter. According to the student, who was questioned by school administrators immediately after his teacher brought the drawings to the administration the day after the drawings were made, the drawings were of scenes depicting stick figures from video games the student plays regularly. In fact, the student’s drawings contained the names of the video games in question and school administrators confirmed the likeness of the student’s drawings to the video games. Again, the drawings did not show the student holding a gun to another student’s head or indicate in any way that the student intended to shoot anyone at Lewisville Middle or otherwise.

As required under state law, our School Board has adopted several policies governing how and when school officials should notify law enforcement whenever there is threat to a student on school grounds or at a school activity. These policies, which can be found on the District’s website, specify when law enforcement must be contacted. Notably, before a report to law enforcement is made, school officials assess whether there is a threat. If it is determined that there is a potential threat, law enforcement must be notified.

In this case, school and District administrators reviewed the drawings; talked with the student’s teacher and other adults at the school familiar with the student; talked with the student; and talked with the student’s parent. After confirming that the drawings did not constitute a threat and thus that law enforcement did not need to be notified, the school handled the matter internally in accordance with state and federal law along with School Board policy.

The District has been notified that the student in question was arrested and has been charged after the student’s teacher shared the drawings with a relative employed by law enforcement in another county. The District will continue to monitor the status through the proper channels.

Certainly, our community should expect and demand that we, as the adults who spend hours with our children, closely monitor students for any warning signs of violence. We have done so consistently, and we will continue to do so.

There have been calls for SLED to investigate this incident to determine whether the District handled its reporting obligations appropriately. The District welcomes this investigation and is fully cooperating with SLED’s review. Our continuing commitment to students, parents, staff, and community is to develop and implement best practices for school safety and student well-being at all of our schools.

Thank you for your support and understanding. Student safety is a responsibility we all share. We look forward to working with you, law enforcement, and our community as a whole to ensure our schools provide a secure learning environment.”

WBTV asked SLED if they are investigating Chester County Schools. SLED has not yet responded.

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