A South Carolina High School student is facing 30 days in jail after allegedly throwing a paper airplane that struck a teacher in the eye.
The seventeen year old student is now learning the hard way about the repercussions of a silly prank… he was charged with third-degree assault and battery.
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Earlier this month, Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 17-year-old David Michael Elliott after his instructor, Edward McIver, told the school resource officer that he wanted to press charges for an assault with a paper airplane.
Elliott was arrested and booked into Georgetown County Detention Center, where he was later released on a $1,087.50 bond. He is now facing charges of third-degree assault and battery — for a paper airplane.
As South Strand News reports, according to the incident report, McIver – a science teacher, who also serves on the Florence Public School District One Board of Trustees – contacted the school resource officer, Deputy Paul Glover, and told him he had been struck in the eye. In the report, Glover noted McIver’s eye appeared “very red.” Glover said McIver was “very upset” about being struck in the eye because of a recent ocular surgery.
No one here is arguing that Elliott shouldn’t face the consequences of throwing the paper airplane and striking his teacher in the eye. However, is police action really needed? It was a paper airplane — not a fist.
The result now is that Elliot, who may or may not be a troubled student, is going to be part of the criminal justice system and wear this charge for the rest of his life. He is now facing an offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
According to South Carolina’s Code of Laws on Assault and Battery, Sec 16-3-600, third-degree assault and battery takes place when “the person unlawfully injures another person, or offers or attempts to injure another person with the present ability to do so.”
A paper airplane is hardly an ‘attempt to injure another person.’ However, that hasn’t stopped school officials and police from standing behind this decision.
When asked by South and Strand News if she felt the arrest for throwing a paper airplane was warranted, AHS Principal Michelle Greene deferred to the police.
“That’s the law enforcement side,” Greene said. “That is a violation of school policy, but if law enforcement … deem it necessary to get a warrant for it, then that’s what happens. The school does not interfere with law enforcement business, and they don’t interfere with ours.”
When asked if this response to a child throwing a paper airplane was warranted, Lt. Mike Nelson, who oversees the GCSO’s public information office, said, “I’m not going to debate the contents here,” continuing, “The deputy felt there was sufficient probable cause to charge and made the charge.”