Judge sets bond at $2K for bullying suspects

Judge sets bond at $2K for bullying suspects
Mugshots of the 8 students arrested for the alleged bullying incident
Mugshots of the 8 students arrested for the alleged bullying incident

SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) – Bond was set for eight Socastee High students following a bullying incident at the school.

The eight suspects went before an Horry County judge Thursday. Bond was set at $2,000 for each suspect -- $1,000 for each charge, according to jail records.

The students were taken into custody Wednesday at Socastee High School following the alleged mistreatment of a 14-year-old, said Teal Harding with Horry County Schools. The suspects reportedly recorded a bullying incident with a cell phone, according to reports.

Police identified the following students as suspects of the crime:

Shawn Preston Collins

Joseph Max O'Ryan

Johnathon Herring

Dylan James Garvelink

Austin Ray Duncan

Collen Nicholas Bailey

Thomas Arnold Young

Drew Jason Keough

The suspects have all been charged with third-degree assault by a mob and disturbing schools, according to arrest warrants from the Horry County Police Department.

Lt. Raul Denis said the third-degree assault by a mob charge could hold a sentence of up to a year in prison.

The suspects, ages 17 to 19, are suspended pending a hearing, Harding said.

The incident happened Thursday, November 20, according to a report. During lunch, the suspects appear to befriend the 14-year-old victim, "and then when he walks over, a full trash can was placed over [the victim's] head and the suspects begin to push the victim around while joking and laughing at him," according to cell phone video, the report states.

One of the suspects claims, "I didn't push anyone. They all pushed him, I just video'd it," according to the report.

The phone and a pair of headphones were taken by school officials as evidence of the crime.

Horry County police and Horry County deputies responded to the school and took the students into custody early Wednesday afternoon.

The police report said the victim has decided to change schools. The Socastee High School principal said that student has special needs.

The school has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying.

"We have anti-bullying assemblies and we have speakers in who are anti-bullying and we send a current message all through the year," said Paul Browning, the school's principal.

Browning said taking bullying so seriously when it does happen will also help prevent it in the future.

"I think the fear factor gets into it because kids make choices about whether they bully or not and if they see that people are being punished for it and people are being sanctioned for it, they will hesitate to do it," he said.

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