A middle school student reported to authorities that she was assaulted at school by the parent of another student, and an attorney for Aiken County Public Schools said the incident was handled correctly.
The principal at Aiken Middle School told authorities a parent assaulted a student at school, and that the parents of the alleged victim wanted to file a report.
The incident happened in the school lunchroom about 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, according to a report by the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
The 12-year-old victim told officers the 46-year-old suspect pushed her into a seat and “talked mean” to her about his daughter, according to the report.
“The father was in the school to deal with a situation with his daughter,” the report stated. “The situation is said to be related to a relationship that the victim has with the suspect’s daughter’s old boyfriend.”
The victim told officers that once the suspect left, she went into the courtyard and cried, according to the report. This was reportedly verified by another student.
After a man entered an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and shot and killed 26 people on Dec. 14, Aiken County Public Schools reminded students and parents that they have a number of safety considerations in place at schools, including school resource officers, locking exterior doors when possible, security cameras in some buildings and having all visitors sign in at the office.
William Burkhalter, attorney for the school system, said the man in the incident at Aiken Middle School came to the school to visit the guidance area, signed in at the front office and was given a pass to the guidance area.
Burkhalter said the man entered the cafeteria when people were leaving to report to class.
“According to our information, it appears the people in charge that were supervising in the lunchroom area cornered him immediately and asked him why he was there,” Burkhalter said, adding that the man told them he wanted a drink of water. The employees then directed the man out of the cafeteria.
“Everybody was doing what he or she was supposed to be doing,” Burkhalter said.
Burkhalter said it’s common for parents to come and visit parts of schools.
“All parents are required to sign in at our schools,” he said. “If they are going to any place, they have to identify where it is.”
The school was not made aware of the alleged assault until the following day, when the student told the principal about it, Burkhalter said. The principal then contacted police.
The school principal and a Public Safety officer looked at the video system, but found that the system didn’t record the lunch area that day, according to the report.
Officers later spoke with the suspect at Public Safety headquarters.
“He first denies the incident but admits to being there,” the report stated. “He then goes on to say he ‘may have touched her shoulder,’ then he stated he just didn’t know.”
No charges have been filed, and a city solicitor told officers she would not prosecute the case with the available evidence.
Officers told the suspect his actions were “inappropriate” and “uncalled for,” and told him not to get in the middle of “kid drama.”
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Clemson University and hails from Williston.
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