NEWBERRY COUNTY — A Newberry County School Resource Officer was assaulted Thursday while attempting to stop a fight on a school bus.
Sheriff Lee Foster said two male juveniles were fighting on a bus when the School Resource Officer boarded the bus and along with the bus driver attempted to separate the suspects.
Foster said that after they were separated, the School Resource Officer was attempting to secure one of the juveniles, when the other suspect, a 14-year-old juvenile, jumped on her back and she was struck several times in the face.
The officer was able to gain control of the suspect and both of them were taken into custody.
The 14-year-old juvenile was charged with assault on a police officer while resisting arrest while both were charged for the fighting incident.
The juvenile who assaulted the officer was detained and sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
The deputy was taken for a medical check and was released after a splint was placed on her wrist for an injury sustained during the incident. She also has several marks on her face and neck where she was struck by the juvenile.
Foster said that while there are some people who think there should not be officers in schools, incidents like the one on Thursday show their necessity.
“This coupled with the two other assaults on officers in the school environment recently in other areas of South Carolina leaves no doubt to their necessity,” he said. “If someone will assault a police officer and struggle with them, imagine the plight of a school administrator trying to handle this without the training or equipment of a law enforcement officer.”
Foster credited the School District of Newberry County for allowing the officers to be in the schools.
“They make the School Resource Officers possible and our relationship is second to none. We have been recognized nationally as best practices for a relationship between law enforcement and a school district in our partnership, planning, and response to incidents,” he said.
The ultimate goal of the School Resource Officer is to be a positive part of the school environment, to be a role model for the students, and to provide the students with a different perspective of law enforcement than the negative they often see, said Foster.
“Many of our school resource officers assist with coaching athletics and various functions that allow them to build relationships far beyond just that of a school resource officer,” he added. “However, in the society we live in today, we must provide a safe learning environment for our children.”
Foster said there are currently five officers assigned to the School Resource Officer program with one stationed at all middle and high schools and a supervisor who covers elementary schools and assists as needed.