GREENSBORO — A group of eight people, including a parent, attacked a 14-year-old in her classroom at Southern Guilford High School on Tuesday morning, according to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
The student received minor injuries, including bruises and cuts on her face, according to Capt. Brian Hall, who supervises the county’s school resource officers.
“What happened Tuesday at Southern was an absolute disgrace,” he told the News & Record on Friday.
Lori Poag, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Friday afternoon that the sheriff’s office has made an agreement with those who will be formally charged to turn themselves in on Tuesday. She did not know how many people the sheriff’s office is planning to charge.
She said they would be arrested and charged at that time and the sheriff’s office will release more information then.
Investigators are using surveillance video, cellphone video and witness testimony to determine exactly what happened, The Associated Press reported.
Hall said the sheriff’s office hasn’t changed any of its procedures at the school after what happened, but didn’t know yet whether the schools would make any changes to theirs.
He said the eight participants in the attack included three Southern Guilford High School students, three students from other schools, one 18-year-old, and the 37-year-old mother of one of the students involved. All were female.
Hall said that from what the sheriff’s office has been told, the victim of Tuesday’s attack had been involved in some kind of altercation at a bus stop with another student on Monday. He said he wasn’t sure whether that was physical or just an argument.
That other student then organized a group, including friends at Southern and other schools, to go after the 14-year-old.
On Tuesday morning, he said, group members arrived outside of the school. The student from the bus stop fight went to let them in, but didn’t need to do so, Hall said, because they grabbed the door as some other students were leaving and let themselves in.
After that, Hall said, the student and her supporters went to the 14-year-old’s classroom. The class was taking a test that day, Hall said.
Once inside, they started hitting and kicking the 14-year-old.
The teacher ran into the hall to call for help, Hall said. As the school’s resource officer and members of the school faculty approached, the attackers ran off and split up. He said the sheriff’s office was later able to catch them in the parking lot.
Guilford County Schools spokesman Janson Silvers said that principal Brian Muller met with the class later than day to offer them, “any support services they might need.” Silvers said Muller then reached out that night to parents of the students who witnessed the attack. The rest of the school’s parents were notified the next afternoon. (This paragraph has been updated to correct an error. See correction at the bottom of this article 11:07 a.m., 6/1/21)
He said that while it’s still early in the investigation, they believe that all school staff followed relevant safety protocols.
“Obviously, these students didn’t follow the code of conduct,” Silvers said. “We just thank the law enforcement and teachers and staff for responding.”
It’s a tough situation to prevent, Hall said, because students entering and exiting during the day is common at a high school. With students and staff wearing masks, he said, it’s even harder for staff to recognize which people do or do not belong in the building.
Hall said this doesn’t fit the pattern of typical fights or attacks inside classrooms; it’s more like something that would take place outside of school.
“I haven’t seen anything quite like this where you had multiple people who planned this sort of assault and came together to carry it out,” he said.
Correction: The district's notification to parents of students in other classes about the incident was sent Wednesday afternoon. This information was incorrect in an earlier version of this article.
Contact Jessie Pounds at 336-373-7002 and follow @JessiePounds on Twitter.