HEMINGWAY, SC (WMBF) - Seventeen Hemingway High School students will face charges of disturbing schools and affray after several fights broke out on campus Wednesday afternoon.
This is the second fighting incident in the Williamsburg County School District this week. A statement from Bonnie King, director of public relations, mirrored the one sent in reference to Kingstree High School's Monday altercation:
"We have several programs in place within our district that assist our students in resolving conflicts without physical contact. Our guidance counselors, behavioral/intervention specialists and mental health counselors work closely with students to address many issues to include conflict resolution. Counselors and administrators participate in crisis non-violence technique training that provides them with the knowledge needed during physical altercations. The district is investigating this incident and working cooperatively with local authorities."
Hemingway police first received the call from the high school around 12 p.m., on Wednesday after the security office could not control the fights.
"I was pulling up on scene and several more fights had broken out," said Hemingway Police Chief Bryan Todd. "Between the gym and cafeteria area, this was the time where the students were out on lunch break and there were three to four fights going on when the call came in."
One mother who has a son at Hemingway said she is hoping they keep police on campus the entire day to keep fights from happening again.
"I've been to many fights at Hemingway High School since I've been here," Todd said. "This one was different yesterday, with all the different groups fighting. I've never seen it like that before."
Todd enlisted assistance from the Johnsonville Police Department, the Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office and state probation and parole officers. He said his No. 1 priority is to make sure fighting does not happen inside the high schools.
"If you make physical contact with another student in that school, it's my position that you're going to be charged," Todd said. "If they call my office and I have to go, you're going to be charged."
The seven students arrested will appear in court in Hemingway on May 24 and the juveniles will report to the juvenile justice department.