Students Face Charges, Officer Suspended After Early-Morning Basketball Game - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/06/06

Students Face Charges, Officer Suspended After Early-Morning Basketball Game

Do you know where your children are? Some Bryan County parents found out the hard way, when police arrested them and the school system suspended them. And now, a Pembroke police officer is in hot water over his role in the situation.

It started with about eight kids playing basketball in a school gym. The problem: it was 4am. A Pembroke police officer found them and filed what now is being called a botched report. Still, the kids were kicked out of school.

It all started in the elementary school gym in Bryan County. "None of the parents knew anything," said Jackie Stamm, whose 17-year-old son was one of the students in question.

"I got three kids in the school system, and they all know, every one knows the gym door does not lock," Stamm said.

According to Pembroke police, eight Bryan County High School students, six of them boys ages 16 and 17 and two girls 14 and 15 years old, were found playing basketball in the gymnasium. An officer showed up and sent the kids home.

Chief William Collins says the police report stated parents were notified. After an internal investigation, he says there was no proper notification and protocol was not followed. The officer was suspended for two weeks.

"Why didn't anybody call a meeting with us, or something, let us know something?" said Stamm.

The kids weren't out of trouble yet. Bryan County school officials decided to bring criminal trespassing charges against the six boys, who were all suspended from school for ten days. The district superintendent and school principals wouldn't return WTOC's calls or see us when we stopped into their offices.

"No drugs, no drinking," said Stamm. "They were just playing basketball, which is wrong, but was it really criminal trespass? I don't know. Nobody explains anything. They know they did wrong. All they want is to go back to school."

Stamm's son is a senior. She's afraid the ten-day suspension could jeopardize his graduation. "They were wrong. They made a bad choice, but they are going a little bit too far."

The students will return to class this Wednesday. Their cases are still pending, with a court date set for February 15.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly