Georgetown County, South Carolina, sheriff’s deputies arrested a 17-year-old for throwing a paper airplane at a teacher. The teen was charged with third degree assault and battery, and faces 30 days in jail.
It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. The paper airplane struck the teacher, Edward McIver, in the eye. McIver had recently had eye surgery, according to the South Strand News.
What’s more, the teen—David Michael Elliott—had a record of misbehavior in the classroom. When confronted, he admitted he threw the airplane at McIver, and defended himself by saying that he had meant to hit McIver in the head, rather than the eye. He offered no further justification for the misdeed.
Eye surgery hurts—I know, I’ve had it—and taking a paper airplane in the eye sounds pretty awful. This kid seems like he has a real problem, and some kind of harsh disciplinary measure would have been well justified.
But now the matter is out the school’s hands. That’s because Andrews High School employs a school resource officer (SRO) to mete out justice.
The SRO, Deputy Paul Glover, met with Elliott, who admitted wrongdoing. That’s a big problem. Was Elliott read his rights? Did he know that he should remain silent and ask for a lawyer?
When asked if she felt Elliott’s arrest was warranted, AHS Principal Michelle Greene said she thought the incident did constitute an assault, but added deputies make the ultimate determination as to whether criminal charges are filed.
“That’s the law enforcement side,” Greene said. “That is a violation of school policy, but if law enforcement … deem it necessary to get a warrant for it, then that’s what happens. The school does not interfere with law enforcement business, and they don’t interfere with ours.”
Maybe the school doesn’t interfere with law enforcement, but it introduced law enforcement into the situation in the first place, by employing an SRO.
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