By John Brice
Details on the conclusion of an investigation by the Lanett Police Department into injuries to a student at Huguley Elementary School were revealed in a press release on Thursday, October 26th of 2023. Briefly stated in the release were the findings “The investigation of the incident reported to the Lanett Police Department at Huguley Elementary has been concluded with no criminal charges. At no time were any faculty or staff at the school suspected of any wrong doing. The school administration cooperated and assisted fully in the investigation.”
This conclusion served as an update to the original Lanett PD statement released on October 9th that had stated “On 10/05/2023 the Lanett Police Department was notified that a student of Huguley Elementary sustained injuries while at school that day. An investigation was immediately initiated with the assistance of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, the school administration, and the Chambers County Department of Human resources. The investigation revealed that the student sustained the injures while in the presence of two other students and the staff at the school was not involved in the incident. The identities of the students involved are not being released due to the matter involving juveniles. The injured student has received appropriate medical attention and this matter remains under investigation by the Lanett Police Department.”
In response to that first press release from the Lanett PD, the Chambers County School District had released a statement of their own on October 10th as well noting “On Thursday, October 5th, students at Huguley Elementary School began preparing for dismissal that afternoon. Prior to dismissal and following dismissal, no incidents of concern were reported by students or staff regarding the safety and well-being of any Huguley students. All dismissal of car riders and bus riders took place without any reported incidents.
On Friday, October 6th, near mid-day, Huguley Elementary School Principal, Mr. Philip Jenkins received a visit from authorities representing the Lanett City Police Department. It was at this time on Friday, that Mr. Jenkins was made aware of an alleged incident by which a Huguley Elementary School student was injured prior to dismissal on Thursday afternoon. Mr. Jenkins fully cooperated with law enforcement authorities and reviewed campus video footage. None of the footage reviewed supported any of the allegations made to law enforcement. Additionally, the Huguley Elementary School SRO (or School Resource Officer), SGT. Yates found no evidence to support any wrongdoing by other students or school staff. The school leadership at Huguley and the District have strived to be cooperative and assist with the investigation. The Chambers County School District is committed to maintaining the health, safety and overall well-being of all of our students.”
Reaction from community members on social media was swift and intense, with one facebook user posting “FINALLY! I can’t believe it took LPD this long to make this announcement. They knew exactly what happened before they made the original press release that stirred up such a mess for HES. To the young ladies who I saw sharing that original post and creating such drama; why don’t you share this and make sure everyone knows NO ONE at HES hurt a child.”
Commenting on the investigation, another user remarked “I’m really hoping that child wasn’t actually assaulted because if he was then we already know and knew it didn’t happen at the school. Both PD are horrible at reporting false narratives but I’m also very very happy that no one at the school was charged based on probable cause which in this county according to two Valley of means of the child says it happened that’s all that is needed. So happy that the faculty at HED have been cleared!”.
Summing up the feelings of many, another commenter stated “I guess some folks are finding out that they DON’T know it all. Always quick to jump on a negative narrative and a false one at that.”