A Bibb County student spent Monday night in jail after school police say she cut another student on the face with a box cutter. The two girls got in a fight at the alternative high school housed at Hutchings Career Center just before noon.
17-year-old Jacinta Deshazier is charged with aggravated assault, possession of a weapon on school grounds, and disruption of a public school. A school police report says she hid the box cutter in her wallet, got it past school metal detectors then later hid it in her bra.
In a statement, the district describes the injury to the 16-year-old victim as a "superficial cut to the left side of her face."
Deputy superintendent Ed Judie says they've added a female police officer to the alternative school, now there are two officers onsite.
He says the district is taking the incident seriously.
"I cannot tell you what's going to happen to that young lady because she has not gone through the evidentiary hearing," Judie said, "but I want the public to know that we will not tolerate any weapons on school campus, anyone taking a weapon and hurting anyone. The consequences will be severe, both criminal and through our administrative system."
Judie also addressed the Safe Haven report, a 97-page document that the district itself asked for, to assess safety in Bibb County schools.
The independent company found major gaps in student supervision, emergency response plans, and several other areas. The district received the full report in early July, but Judy says it will take months to go through all the recommendations and implement the ones that are needed.
"We know that we have problems, and this community knows we had problems for many years, but we accept the responsibility of these problems now, and our responsibility is to do something about them so we needed an outside assessment to show us some of those things that were happening within our district and we plan to analyze them and to come up with effective strategies," he said.
Safe Haven recommends the district pull out of an agreement with law enforcement, juvenile courts, and social service agencies. The goal of the program is to keep kids in school, but Safe Haven says it adds to a culture where teachers and administrators feel like they can't suspend or expel misbehaving students, so disciplinary incidents and even crimes go unreported.
Judie indicated they're not pulling out of the agreement, but he say's they're looking into the culture of under reporting. He says he's working on a system for school employees to anonymously report breakdowns in the way schools are run. Also, school administrators will be required to check discipline incidents entered into their computer systems each week.
"I will also ask the associate superintendents when they go down and conduct their building meetings to get a sense from the staff members whether they have the support that is needed. So when kids are referred to the office, are they getting the support that is needed, because that's where it's coming from," Judie said.
Some school board members have asked the superintendent to put the safety report on the agenda at next week's school board meeting.