School officials probing student knife incident

Published 6:00 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

WESSON – Four students at Wesson AttendanceCenter were allegedly caught with knives at school Wednesdaymorning, according to officials.

    “We have that situation under investigation. All the facts are notin,” said Martha Traxler, assistant superintendent for the CopiahCounty School District.

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    A report by WLBT News said the four students, who ranged in agefrom 11 to 15, were caught passing knives around in class and wereexpelled. However, Traxler said it is impossible for the studentsto have been expelled at this point.

    “Expulsion is a procedural matter that has to come through theschool board,” she said.

    The school board has not met since the Wednesday morning incident,and Traxler would not say whether the board will consider expulsionof the students. The board’s next monthly meeting is scheduled forSept. 6.

    Attendance center principals do, however, have the authority tosuspend students, Traxler said. She could not say whether WessonAttendance City principal Ronald Greer has suspended the fourstudents involved in Wednesday’s incident.

    Greer did not return phone calls for comment.

    Wesson Chief of Police Chad O’Quinn said his department received acall concerning the matter 10 a.m. Wednesday. O’Quinn said theschool resource officer, a deputy with the Copiah County Sheriff’sOffice, handled the situation, and that the police departmentdispatched two officers to the school only to provideassistance.

    He declined to describe the nature of that assistance and said aCopiah County juvenile officer should now be charge of thecase.

    Bill Twiner, chief investigator for the Copiah County Sheriff’sOffice, said Copiah’s juvenile officer “might have worked on it”but was unable to confirm that.

    He acknowledged the school resource officer is a deputy in thesheriff’s department, but said the officer works under thesupervision of the school district and therefore referred furtherinquiries to the district.

    Twiner added that the officer who normally holds that post atWesson Attendance Center was absent, and another deputy wastemporarily assigned there.