The Giles County Sheriff’s Department and the Giles County School System are investigating the assault of a seventh grade student at Richland School earlier this month.

While the names of the victim and other students have been made public over social media, the PULASKI CITIZEN will not publish the names of minors unless they are released by officials or by written permission of the minors’ parents.

According to information, photos and video shared through social media since the Aug. 13 incident, a female seventh grade student who is described as being Autistic with Tourette’s Syndrome and with a Sensory Processing Disorder was verbally and physically assaulted by several other students on the school grounds.

The incident was brought to the attention of the Giles County Sheriff’s Department who released the following statement Aug. 19: “Late on the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 13, the Sheriff’s Department became aware of an assault which occurred on the grounds of Richland Junior High School involving several students. This has been an ongoing investigation which has resulted in the issuance of multiple juvenile petitions summoning the identifiable responsible parties into juvenile court.”

Juvenile court proceedings are sealed from the public.

On Aug. 19 the Giles County Board of Education released the following statement: “The Giles County School System has been made aware of an incident at Richland School on Aug. 13, 2021. The School System has informed the proper authorities of the situation and is also conducting a full and thorough investigation of all aspects of this incident. Due to state and federal privacy issues and the need for a complete and independent examination of the circumstances involved, no more details can be provided. The School System asks for patience as these investigations unfold. The safety, health and well-being of Giles County students is and has always been a primary concern.”

On Aug. 20 Giles County Director of Schools Vickie Beard said the investigation is still underway, but stressed that there will be consequences.

On Aug. 19, the Sheriff’s Department also released the following statement concerning possible threats to the school: “Our department has received multiple calls in regards to someone on social media threatening to shoot up Richland High School. Anyone with information and can provide us with the original posting please contact 9-1-1. Our staff and deputies are working diligently to keep everyone as safe as possible. Richland High School will have extra deputies at the school tomorrow (Aug. 20).”

Beard said Friday that no substantiated threat was ever received.

“We did take it serious,” she said. “Extra law enforcement was in place and every precaution was taken. The students are our first and foremost concern.”

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