ROCK HILL, S.C. — A 14-year-old student is now in juvenile custody after the Rock Hill Police Department said the teen aimed a gun at other students during a fight Tuesday morning. This is now the second time within a week a gun was found on a Rock Hill campus.
The department said a School Resource Officer was watching students during class transitions just before 9 a.m. when students in the electives hallway yelled someone had a gun while running away. The officer reported going to the area and found a school staff member with the student. The department said the staff member reported the teen was involved in the fight and took the student to the office.
Police said the principal searched the student in the office, but the gun wasn't found there. However, it was later found stuffed inside a bathroom's toilet paper dispenser.
According to students, the 14-year-old student involved got into a fight in a restroom in the electives hallway. During the fight, students told police the gun fell from the teen's pants, who then picked up the gun and aimed it at the other student. That's when the other students ran out from the bathroom and into the hallway.
The teen is now charged with unlawful possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a handgun by a person under 18, and pointing and presenting a firearm. The teen is now in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.
Just one day before, another gun was found in a student's backpack at South Pointe High School. When WCNC Charlotte reached out to Rock Hill Schools to see if any additional security measures would be taken, a district spokesperson confirmed they would focus on safety screenings and random searches in the following statement:
In light of recent safety incidents in our schools, we will continue to take a proactive and aggressive approach toward safety screenings in the coming days. This will continue for the entirety of our school year as it is our top priority to provide our children with a safe learning environment.
Effective immediately, we will be putting an emphasis on safety screenings and random searches in our middle and high schools.
We have a trained safety officer inside every school building who is ready to respond to incidents. These officers and security professionals are also trained to spot suspicious activity and respond to it.
We also work very closely with law enforcement to stay in tune with what is going on in our community in order to proactively address situations that could boil over into school time. We are grateful our law enforcement officers are willing to work collaboratively to alert us when issues may be brewing.
Lastly, we need our parents and guardians to join us in this effort as safety incidents start at home. We are asking our parents to also take an aggressive approach in preventing incidents by being involved with their student.
The district said parents, students, and staff members can submit tips anytime online.