Five Lakeside Middle School pupils calling themselves the “Charlie Rape Gang” will appear in Columbia County Juvenile Court on Wednesday morning to answer charges of simple battery, school officials said Tuesday.
Columbia County School Superintendent Charles Nagle said sheriff’s investigators met with the boys, their parents and school officials Tuesday at Lakeside Middle to inform them of the charges and the court appearance.
Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said he couldn’t confirm the charges until after the hearing.
Depending on the outcome in court, Nagle said the boys then might face the school system hearing officer, who adjudicates school-related offenses involving pupils. The hearing officer has the authority to expel.
“We’re not going to have this behavior in our schools,” Nagle said.
Several angry parents demanded Tuesday that the Columbia County school board more harshly punish the gang.
Accused this month of accosting and “dry-humping” unwilling classmates, the boys were suspended for two days for their actions.
Jennifer Rose, the mother of a Lakeside Middle pupil, called the suspension a “two-day vacation.” She demanded during a school board meeting that officials expel the pupils in the gang.
Another parent suggested the board fire Lakeside Middle Principal Felicia Turner.
Cora Doran said her son stood up to the boys and reported their actions. When the gang returned to school following their suspension, she said they threatened her son.
“My son learned the importance of standing up for people who can’t or won’t stand up for themselves,” Doran said while fighting back tears.
School board Vice Chairman Mike Sleeper said the board wouldn’t respond directly to parent complaints, but would direct central office staff to investigate.
“The safety of our students is our utmost concern,” he said. “This matter has not escaped our attention.”