Teenager facing assault charges after 'poking' classmate with knife at Statesboro High

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - The Statesboro Police Department arrested a suspect for aggravated assault at Statesboro High School on Monday.

Around noon on May 15, the Statesboro Police Department was notified by school officials of a potential stabbing. After an investigation, police determined a 17-year-old male had stabbed the victim in the back with a knife, according to a release from Statesboro Police.

Reports now show what may have started as a prank turned into assault charges.

A student pulled a knife and poked a classmate in the back with the blade. A school nurse treated the wound. But the legal issue won't go away as easily.

The superintendent of Bulloch County Schools assured parents that this wasn't an act of violence and students aren't in danger. Statesboro Police chief said, regardless, they must uphold the law and maintain safety.

Police initially described what happened as a potential stabbing incident. School leaders issued a statement that described it as horseplay, but something they had to report to police especially since in involved a knife and knives and other weapons are not allowed on campus.

The Statesboro Police chief says what happened qualified as a crime and they had to arrest the student.

"If two kids are messing around and one of them gets hurt, everybody can recognize that. The allegations in this case are that that's not what happened," said Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead.

The chief says they'll complete their investigation and give that to the district attorney and it will be up to that office to present the case to a grand jury. The grand jury would decide whether the charges would be dropped or if the student would face trial.

The suspect is charged with one count of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a deadly weapon in a school safety zone.

On Wednesday, the Bulloch County Superintendent released the following statement:

Bulloch County Schools cooperates fully with law enforcement and does not hinder law enforcement agency investigations or the legal process when incidents occur on school campuses.

The safety of our students is top priority, and while we are saddened by the choices made by the student in question, our school system will not tolerate such behavior, misconduct, or any abuse of another student, regardless of the student's intent.

On Monday, May 15, Dr. Ken LeCain, principal of Statesboro High School, informed Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson, that a male student poked another student in the back with the tip of a pocket knife while the other student was urinating in the bathroom.

The student who was poked reported the incident to a teacher. The school nurse examined the student and determined that the poke by the pocket knife had not caused an open wound, scratch or bleeding.  Dr. Deborah Mangum, an assistant principal at SHS, obtained written statements from both students. The students' initial statements to the school administrator, did not reveal malicious intent, and revealed that the two boys are close acquaintances. 

Based on the students' initial statements to school administrators, Dr. Mangum and Dr. LeCain believed the incident to be horse play, but since the incident involved a pocket knife, which is a weapon and its possession on campus is against school policy, administrators followed protocol and reported the incident to the school's Statesboro Police Department Resource Officer.

Statesboro High School administrators have reported and supplied all information regarding this case to law enforcement. The student was removed from campus.

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