MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Educators in the Carolinas are dealing with more guns and fighting in schools, advocates and deputies say.
A Robeson County deputy who oversees 10 school resource officers called the number of guns turning up in the county’s schools concerning.
“We’ve seen sort of the juvenile crime rate rise,” Lt. Kevin Hickman said. “It’s got everybody pretty busy.”
So far this school year, four guns have been found in schools in Robeson County. A loaded gun was found in a kindergartener’s bag Monday, and district officials said that was because a relative dropped the wrong bag off to the student at school.
The sheriff’s office said school resource officers will be conducting more searches to crack down.
“Some of them are bringing guns in because they’re afraid of other people in the school,” Hickman said. “Or they’re bringing guns because of retaliatory situations.”
In South Carolina, the Palmetto State Teachers Association said more fights are breaking out in schools.
“I think what’s probably driving that is that most of our students have not had anything like a normal school year since March 2020,” said Patrick Kelly, director of governmental affairs for the group and a teacher.
Kelly said it’s critical that the state bolster its mental health resources for students.
“Proactively help our students work through the kind of behaviors and the kind of mental stress and depression that can lead to violent outbursts,” Kelly said.
Kelly said one counselor is recommended for every 250 students. He said in South Carolina, the average is one for every 351 students.