HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A judge granted bond for an Horry County Schools special education teacher who allegedly rubbed hand sanitizer on a student’s open wound and smacked students in the back of their heads, among other accusations, according to arrest warrants obtained by News13.
The investigation also led to the arrest of a principal, according to the district.
An attorney representing two of the families involved in the abuse allegations released the following statement:
The children abused at Ocean Bay Elementary are the most vulnerable in our community. The one place our children should feel the safest is their school. Horry County Schools failed them at every level. It is our sincerest hope that everyone responsible for this horrific treatment and abuse is held accountable.
This is not an isolated incident. There has long been a failure in the hiring and retention of employees in The Horry County School system and our children are paying the ultimate price. Horry County knows better and we demand they do better.
Grace McColgan was arrested by the Horry County police and charged with six counts of unlawful conduct toward a child, according to online booking records for the J. Reuben Long Detention Center. The district said McColgan is a special education teacher at Ocean Bay Elementary School.
McColgan was given a $60,000 surety bond. She’s not to have any contact with the victims or their families and can’t be employed in a position that handles care and safety of children.
On multiple occasions in September, McColgan allegedly hit students in the back of their heads while their heads were down on the desk, according to a police report obtained by News13.
She also allegedly told the students that they wouldn’t get snacks or lunch if they didn’t answer questions, the report said.
McColgan also is accused of dumping a child out of a chair, leaving a child in the bathroom with the lights off “for an unreasonable amount of time” and hitting a child on the arm after she was hit during the 2021-22 school year.
McColgan, who was hired by the district in August 2020, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 11.
Ocean Bay Elementary School Principal Rebecca Schroyer was also arrested and charged with two counts of failure to report child abuse or neglect, according to online booking records.
Schroyer allegedly failed to report the allegations to the appropriate people as a mandatory reporter, according to the district. She was placed on administrative leave on Tuesday.
Warrants accused Schroyer of knowing about the abuse allegations and not reporting it to authorities as required by law.
She was hired by the district in 2001 and has been the principal at Ocean Bay Elementary School since 2016, according to the district.
Schroyer was given a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. She is allowed to leave the state because her mother lives in Michigan, but she is not to have any contact with any victims or their families.
Schroyer was released from jail just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to online booking records.
Schroyer’s attorney, Morgan Martin, said Schroyer did everything according to the law by telling who she needed to tell.
“Mrs. Schroyer is a dedicated, attentive school principal and she takes her job seriously and she works countless hours to do it right,” Martin said.
Martin said Ocean Bay Middle School received a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2019 due to Schroyer’s leadership.
“Rebecca has been in education in Horry County for 20 years as a teacher and as a principal and other roles,” Martin said. “Her record is without a blemish.”
“She’s devastated she’s got to deal with this,” Martin said. “She knows she did not do anything wrong. She’s always tried to serve the best interest of the children and she regrets this and of course, any time you’re accused of things that could affect your career and your ability to earn a living and what you worked your whole life for, it’s very unsettling.”
“At this time, we cannot discuss further the details of this matter out of respect for due process, student privacy rights, employee privacy rights, and law enforcement’s ongoing investigation,” the district said in a statement.
The district said it is cooperating with law enforcement during the investigation.
Mark Porter, the executive director for Horry County elementary schools, will be overseeing Ocean Bay Elementary for the time being, the district said.
Both McColgan and Schroyer are scheduled to appear in court at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Jennifer Blake contributed to this report.