Georgetown County schools eye crime policy

Students in Georgetown County who commit crimes off-campus could soon lose their extracurricular activity privileges under a proposed district-wide policy.

Georgetown County School District Superintendent Randy Dozier is putting the draft policy before the school board Tuesday. The policy was created in response to the increasing number of students recently arrested off-campus and to an article in The Sun News that chronicled a school's handling of a sexual assault case.

"They have to know there are consequences," Dozier said.

Earlier this year a Waccamaw High School student was indicted by a grand jury in the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl and was allowed to continue playing basketball. The student, James Williams, later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in a sexually violent offense.

He returned to classes at the school and rejoined the basketball team. The victim is also a student at the school.

Last month, five students were arrested for a string of burglaries.

Dozier is hoping that a district-wide policy will serve as deterrent. Currently, each school determines what disciplinary action should be taken against a student who is arrested off-campus.

"What we found is that we were being inconsistent," he said.

Under the proposed policies, a student would be unable to participate in an extracurricular season if facing charges related to an off-campus offense. This would include sports, choir, band, drama club or any other afterschool activity.

The student would have to petition Dozier or school officials to be allowed to rejoin the activity after the loss of a season.

The Georgetown County School Board will get a chance to review the policy and make recommendations at its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday at Georgetown High School.

In Brunswick County, N.C., students found guilty of a felony are not allowed to participate in athletics, said Les Tubb, interim superintendent of Brunswick County Schools. They are normally sent to Brunswick County Academy, the county's alternative school and are not allowed on other school campuses.

In Horry County, students who commit crimes on campus are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.