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Clover school officials should address attack

May 18, 2014 

Where were Clover High School teachers? Will students who videoed the attack be held accountable? Why did it take so long to inform parents about the attack? What measures are in place to protect students in the future?

There are many questions swirling following the May 13 attack of a student on another student at Clover High School. Unfortunately, Clover school officials have refused to come up with answers, other than to say classes were not disrupted.

Parents learned about the attack from their children when they came home from school. School officials, on the other hand, didn’t notify parents until about 28 hours after the incident when a statement from principal Mark Hopkins was sent via email and social media

“There is a great deal of misinformation and rumor circulating in conversations both online and offline,” Hopkins wrote.

Really, well if correct information isn’t released, exaggerations often begin.

One issue clearly not exaggerated is the severity of the attack. The York County Sheriff’s Office has charged 16-year-old freshman Arkiva Rashon “AJ” Hunter with attempted murder and he could be tried as an adult. While the charge has been debated on social media posts with some questioning such a charge for a “school fight,” therein lies the issue. This was not a school fight. It was an attack.

The assault was described as “premeditated” in a sheriff’s office incident report. The victim was unaware of his assailant. The warrant states Hunter picked up the 16-year-old victim and slammed his head onto the concrete floor and continued hitting the boy in the head “causing great bodily injury, which was life threatening.”

It doesn’t take a weapon to attempt to murder someone.

Students witnessed the attack. Some even videoed it. Why are these students not being held accountable in this “attempted murder” charge? Why did these students not get a teacher immediately?

And where were teachers? This happened at 8:15 a.m., when academic halls open. Are teachers not monitoring halls? Did they not hear the ruckus? Does the school have video cameras installed in the halls?

School officials have only said classes were not disrupted. No, but a life was. And, in Hopkins statement, encouraging the Blue Eagle community to focus on exams, graduation and the “high character we have come to know and expect from each of our students.”

We pray for the injured student’s quick recovery, and for the families of both boys. No one sends their child to school expecting their child to be attacked or face an attempted murder charge that could carry a 15 year sentence. What’s being done to maintain “high character” and accountability of students and school leaders?

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