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Sunday May 24th, 2015 11:21AM

Stephens County SRO forced to pepper spray students

By Rob Moore Reporter
TOCCOA - Stephens County officials are opening up about a recent incident in which a school resource officer had to use pepper spray on two high school students.

On Monday, Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten discussed the incident, though she didn't provide specifics.

"We go out of our way between our SROs and school administrators to handle anything we can in a very peaceful, very quiet way, but there are times it just doesn't go that way," Whiten said.

Whiten said the incident occurred during the school day.

"It was just something that involved two students," Whiten said. "I can't tell you a lot because of their privacy issues, but I did watch the footage - the taping from the cameras - and it was very warranted on behalf of the officer. She did the right thing."

Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley also weighed in with information on the situation involving the two students, who were arrested on juvenile complaints following the incident.

"They refused to obey a teacher then the SRO, and the SRO ended up having to pepper spray them to get their attention," Shirley said. "One guy was about six-five, weighed about 280. There was no fight or anything like that."

Regarding the use of pepper spray by the SRO, Whiten said, "It's something we don't ever want to do, but there are times that you have to do something different."

In addition to facing the juvenile complaints to answer for their conduct, "those students will go before a tribunal and that will determine their punishment as far as the school side of it," Whiten said.

Another Stephens County High School student was arrested at the school Friday afternoon on a juvenile complaint after what Shirley said was one boy pushing another.

Shirley said the school system and sheriff's office will not tolerate disruptions in the county's schools, especially defiance of instructions from school personnel and law enforcement.
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