York police, schools investigating after student kicked, beaten in ‘disturbing’ video

Police and school officials in York are investigating after a student was kicked and beaten at a middle school.

School officials said the incident was caught on video Monday on a York Middle School student’s cellphone, showing a girl on the ground being attacked.

York Police Chief Andy Robinson said his officers and detectives are reviewing the case with prosecutors to determine if charges will be filed.

“There was an incident with two juvenile students, which escalated into a physical altercation,” Robinson said. “The York police school resource officer is working this as an active criminal investigation. Once the investigation is complete criminal charges will be filed if deemed appropriate.“

Prosecutors have yet to receive all the evidence and information in the case. No decision has yet been made whether to file charges in Family Court where juvenile cases are heard, said 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett.

“We will make a determination on charges, if any, after we review the materials in the case,” Brackett said. “We have to have the facts first before any decision can be made.”

The incident comes about two weeks after a fifth-grade student in Walterboro died after a fight at school.

Tim Cooper, spokesperson for York school district, said a student videoed the altercation.

“This video is disturbing, and we immediately addressed this particular situation,” Cooper said in a statement. “We are actively working to ensure that incidents like this do not occur on our campuses. Due to student privacy law, we are unable to comment on any discipline actions.”

The video does not show school staff handling the situation immediately afterward or what led to the incident, Cooper said.

The school had staff, administrators and the police resource officer on scene after the fight, and handled it according to school policies and procedures, he said.

“The district is doing what we are expected to do and what our policies and procedures require,” Cooper said.

Cooper said school officials cannot comment on the specific incident. However, the district could pursue disciplinary action such as out of school suspension or expulsion, Cooper said.

The Herald’s news partner, WSOC-TV, first published the video and reported the student on the ground being hit in the video is a special needs student.

Crystal Faulkner told WSOC her daughter has been bullied at school all year.

“She’s a special needs child, so they are picking on her about that, telling her she’s slow, and they throw things at her and they hit her,” Faulkner told WSOC.

Cooper, Robinson and Brackett each said safe schools are a priority.

“Law enforcement and school districts in York County work very hard to keep our schools safe,” Brackett said.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.