COVINGTON - Deputies with the Newton County Sheriff's Office charged an 11-year-old boy at Rocky Plains Elementary School Tuesday after they learned he brought a knife on a school bus the day before and threatened other students.
According to a parent of one of the victims, whose identity is being withheld to protect the victim, the fifth-grade boy allegedly pulled out a knife and a needle, threatening at least two female students shortly after they boarded the bus after school Monday afternoon. He then threw the knife out of the bus window, the parent said.
The parent notified the bus driver Monday evening after learning of the incident; the driver then notified the school system's transportation department.
"We were notified Tuesday morning of a possible incident on a school bus Monday afternoon," said Sherri Viniard, director of public relations for the Newton County School System. "School administrators contacted the Sheriff's Office at once, and they are investigating."
NCSO Lt. Mark Mitchell said deputies responded to the school Tuesday, collected statements and evidence and, as a result, charged the boy with aggravated assault and weapons in a school safety zone.
Mitchell said the boy was turned over to juvenile authorities.
The boy's name has been withheld due to his status as a juvenile.
Viniard said the student was disciplined "according to the rules listed in the handbook," but declined to give specific details what that would include. According to the NCSS weapons policy, a student who brings a weapon to school shall be referred to the appropriate criminal justice or juvenile delinquency authorities and the student's parents will be contacted.
The parent who spoke with the Citizen said he is afraid the boy will return to school and ride the bus again, after talking to school administrators who told him the boy would be back at school on Monday.
"I don't like that. I thought we had no tolerance on weapons and drugs," the parent said. "The elementary school handbook is different from the middle and high school handbooks. ... If the kids are getting worse ... you've got to make the penalties worse."
The parent said he hopes to talk to school system officials further about the situation.