LEE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Lee County officials are addressing viral videos, shared hundreds of times on Facebook before being taken down.
The video shows multiple teens outside a building at Lee High School. One of the teens is shown hitting another student.
Lee County Sheriff Gary B. Parsons and Commonwealth’s Attorney H. Fuller Cridlin released a joint statement Tuesday regarding the incident.
In it, they say their offices “received dozens of inquiries” about alleged assaults, including the one on August 26.
“Immediately following that incident, the School Resource Officer handcuff the student and sought a petition for assault,” the release states.
Parsons and Cridlin continue that other incidents are currently being investigated.
“We take all such allegations very seriously. We appreciate all the inquiries from the public but would ask citizens to be mindful of the fact that these cases involve juveniles. Consider that the viral release of tangible evidence can often hinder the investigative process and/or potentially discourage victims from coming forward and cooperating with law enforcement.”
Lee County Schools Superintendent Brian Austin sent News Channel 11 a statement about the incident. He wrote:
“Related to the video on social media from Lee High, the Lee High administration and the School Resource Officer were in the cafeteria at the time of the incident and addressed the incident and the involved students. The Sheriff’s Office was and also continues to be involved in the investigation.”
According to the Lee County Student Code of Conduct, posted on the school system’s website, students who assault another person could face a variety of punishments for the first offense, depending on the severity of the fight.
A “trivial” fight could lead to up to three days of out of school suspension and a parent conference while a “serious fight” could mean five days suspended, “referral to Disciplinary Committee, referral to court services and police; may recommend expulsion.”
For a second fighting offense, no matter the severity, a student could receive “5 days OSS, referral to Disciplinary Committee, referral to court services and police; may recommend expulsion.”
You can read the full statement from Sheriff Parsons and Commonwealth’s Attorney Cridlin below: