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Lexington High student removed from school over ‘joke’ about gun in book bag

Update, 9:28 a.m., Oct. 8: This story was updated to include additional information from the sheriff’s department.

A freshman at Lexington High School was suspended Monday for joking to another student about having a weapon on him, according to a letter Principal Melissa Rawl sent to parents.

The 15-year-old, who is not being identified because he is a minor, “made a joke to another student about having a gun in his book bag” during class, Rawl wrote. “At no time did the student threaten another student or the school.”

Another student, a 14-year-old, overheard the conversation and notified the teacher, according to Rawl’s email.

The School Resource Officer made a report of the incident and the student was suspended while awaiting an expulsion hearing, the email said. Administrators also interviewed students about the incident, according to Rawl.

Lexington 1 policy dictates that students who allegedly make threats are not allowed on any district property or at any Lexington 1 events. A Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson said in an email that the student was not arrested or charged.

In an interview with The State in August, Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said law enforcement and school districts must take all threats and reports seriously and investigate them fully.

“Gone are the days of joking about violence at schools because they all are going to be taken seriously,” he said.

Lexington 1 has a district-wide tip line where students and parents or guardians can submit anonymous tips or safety concerns. The line can be reached via phone or text at 803-636-8317 or via email at 1607@alert1.us.com.

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Isabella Cueto is a bilingual multimedia journalist covering Lexington County, one of the fastest-growing areas of South Carolina. She previously worked as a reporter for the Medill Justice Project and WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. She is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she studied journalism and theatre arts.
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