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Richmond County school officer fired after struggle

Former deputy struck student with his baton

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A Richmond County school safety officer has been fired after he hit a female student at Murphey Middle School several times with a baton after grabbing her by the throat and pushing her into a cabinet, the school district said Friday.

Lillard was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident and was terminated after the investigation ended Wednesday.

It started about 3 p.m. Oct. 7 when Officer Deron Lillard went to the eighth-grade hallway because of "a disorder created by several students," the district's news release says.

Lillard entered a classroom and removed two male students. A female student "expressed an opinion of the situation and began to curse," the release said, and then Lillard said, "She's just stupid as hell."

After that, the officer asked the girl to leave the room. As the student walked past, Lillard saw she had a clenched fist. As she approached the door, Lillard "gave her a strong push in the back," the release said.

That, the release said, started a scuffle between the officer and student. She hit him, and he grabbed her by the throat, pushed her into a classroom cabinet, took out his baton and struck her with it, according to the release.

"Following the initial strikes, the student fell to the ground and the officer placed his hands and knee on the back, neck and head of the student in order to restrain her," the release said. "Shortly thereafter, the assistant principal arrived and removed the student from the area."

During the investigation, the administration determined that Lillard's conduct "crossed the line from an acceptable reaction, escalated the events and used what was deemed as excessive force."

In its statement, the school district stressed that, "This was an isolated incident in which a School Safety Officer misused his authority in correcting the behavior of a student. Since School Safety Officers are fully licensed and fully armed police officers, there are high expectations that each officer will act in a calm, professional and appropriate manner at all times."

According to a biography posted on Murphey Middle's Web site, Lillard had been in law enforcement since 2002. He worked with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office from 2004 to 2008 and is an Army veteran. He started working with the school district in September 2009.

While Lillard was a deputy, he was shoved by a 17-year-old boy in June 2005. The Augusta Chronicle reported at the time that the teen was charged with two counts of obstruction of officers after he refused to provide his name to two deputies, one of whom was Lillard, patrolling his Webster Road neighborhood. Instead, the teen said he was "old enough."

He then forcefully pushed Lillard and tried to elbow him and Deputy Michael Wagner, The Chronicle reported.

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boricua1968
0
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 12:41 pm
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I posted about this incident

I posted about this incident last week and was flagged for using the terminology (although covered with ****'s) that the officer actually used. However, this is a story from a 'press release' issued by the RCSS...when is Augusta ever going to get any investigative reporters instead of just waiting for the government to tell us what happens?

Regardless, it looks like all of the misfits from the Sheriff's Dept. wind up policing our schools...the 'press release' saying that this is an "isolated" incident does not do the story justice. An Asst. Principal was also involved in the struggle and the unjustified use of force against the girl and he should be investigated as well. Also, it was just last October when another school officer was fired for throwing a child to the ground and threatening to kill him. Here's an idea...lets give the school security over to a DEA agent and a Violent Crimes investigator so that they can train their officers to respond to children the exact same way that they are trained to respond to violent druglords and murderers. These are CHILDREN and they need to be handled as such....mouthiness equals a beating??? Get real!!

urright
465
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urright 10/15/10 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Clenching your fist at a cop

Clenching your fist at a cop and cursing at him is not something CHILDREN should be doing in the first place. Act like a thug, get treated like a thug. There is another article, although not as big, about three teachers being injured by students. So the man was supposed to get hit before he responded? A push in the direction she was supposed to be going in the first place does not give this girl the right to go after a cop and not expect to get hit. These kids need to "Get real!!" before they hit the real world.

dani
12
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dani 10/15/10 - 12:51 pm
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boricua..Do you think the

boricua..Do you think the behavior of the student is acceptable? Cursing in the schoolroom. I assume other students were exposed to this acting out?? I sometimes wonder how any teaching can be done in schools. It sounds a bit like a train wreck.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 10/15/10 - 12:59 pm
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The general public has no
Unpublished

The general public has no idea what actually happens in public schools. Ultimately Deron Lillard was fired for doing his job. And before the rest of the commenters raise the issue of the girl's parents, it is 100% likely she has no father figure in her life, 90% likely her mother is either unemployed or absent, 70% likely she is being raised in a foster home or by a grandparent. And the public school officials are supposed to somehow negotiate with these social factors and educate this student?

PUPPYMOMMA
1344
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PUPPYMOMMA 10/15/10 - 01:07 pm
0
0
Well, I'd wager she didn't

Well, I'd wager she didn't put him in a headlock, unlike what happened in another school.

happychimer
16818
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happychimer 10/15/10 - 01:15 pm
0
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amgibson this has nothing to

amgibson this has nothing to do with politics.

Paintbrush365
12
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Paintbrush365 10/15/10 - 01:21 pm
0
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Sounds like everyone

Sounds like everyone mis-behaved. The officer is held to a higher standard because he's (supposed to be) an adult and a paid professional. He is hired to keep the peace, not escalate situations into more violence. But, that's what he did when he commented about the girl and pushed her.

If you think she got what she deserved, how would you feel if you received the same treatment from a deputy or trooper for speaking your mind and making a fist?

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 10/15/10 - 01:22 pm
0
0
Usually these kids are taught

Usually these kids are taught nothing at home and try not to learn anything at school. Public education is a failure as it trys to adapt to the lowest level of values instead of setting a high standard that gets those who can't adjust out the door in a hurry. Let those who want to learn and obey stay and get the rest are out the door.

boricua1968
0
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 01:23 pm
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The girl DID NOT have a

The girl DID NOT have a clenched fist. If you read the report, that is what the officer SAID in his defense (after he was asked why he responded in such a manner). The girl was seated the entire time, admittedly was vociferous about the officer's treatment of the boys but posed NO threat or obstruction to his duties regarding the boys. The 'press release' even says that she walked PAST him so, clenched fists or not, she posed no threat to him...he then pushed her in the back with both hands. She NEVER cussed at him yet he cussed at her. @urright...do you think the cops should push you in the direction of the exit at the County Fair at closing time? It's the direction you should have been going in the first place. @dani...It is a wonder that any teaching gets accomplished but the teachers do not write up the students and send them to the office anymore (remember that Murphey JUST got off of the 'Persistantly Dangerous' schools list and everybody wants to make sure they stay off of it so things that could be handled by the principal do not get reported by staff until it is so out of control that the cops have to handle it. @crackertroy...I don't know this girl's family situation but suppose she doesn't have a father at home and the only male figures in her life are the school officer and the principal that have just beaten her up. @amgibson...I am a strict conservative...this is not a case of liberals misplacing responsibility...this is very much a case of a government grown too large and that has taken classroom discipline from the teachers and put it into the hands of the Police...problem CAUSED by the liberals. Regardless, the girl did not get what "she deserved"...you should never get beat up for voicing your opinion...even if that opinion disrupts class, there are procedures in place to handle that and they do NOT include getting beat with a baton.

seenitB4
85142
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seenitB4 10/15/10 - 01:24 pm
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I can see why we have kids

I can see why we have kids taking teachers down with a headlock & taking knives to school....we need strict enforcers in schools....maybe this needs to be investigated again.

Big_vike
1
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Big_vike 10/15/10 - 01:28 pm
0
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He should get a commendation

He should get a commendation and a raise.

justthefacts
21293
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justthefacts 10/15/10 - 01:28 pm
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Forget sex education. Chris

Forget sex education. Chris Rock's video, "how not to get your a__ kicked by the cops" should be mandatory showing for every kid.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 10/15/10 - 01:29 pm
0
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Whatever the board did

Whatever the board did regarding this officer will be wrong in someone's eyes. The terrible thing is that we even NEED police in the schools; the next question is what will happen with and to that student? Was she put right back into that classroom and be a "hero" for getting the policeman fired? It's time to put our schools back together and conduct them for the purpose for which they were established - education. If a student can't or won't behave, send them to alternative school or simply put them out of school altogether although that will result in more welfare and more detentions in jail over time. ANY time an individual puts his/her hands on an officer it is a CRIME and that student should be so charged regardless of what happened to the officer. The officer probably did overstep his authority but what would YOU have done in a similar circumstance? IT's time to take back the schools from the thugs and hoods that populate the classrooms.

JUSTICE187
14
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JUSTICE187 10/15/10 - 01:33 pm
0
0
School Resource Officers

School Resource Officers contend with and have to handle more things than most people have a clue about. They have to be Police Officers, and paramedic's and guidance counselors and surrogate parents. They keep our children safe daily. Many working for a wage that is below poverty level. They offer children guidance, and caring, and someone to talk to....a shoulder to lean on. These Officers buy lunches....and shoes....and clothing. Everyone makes mistakes.....we live in trying times....it is hard on everyone. Stop pointing fingers and laying blame.....be a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem. Be aware of what your child is doing.....be a part of their life.....it takes more than buying them the latest Jordans. Go to your child's school and ask to look around....let your children see you there......teach them respect and manners.....stop thinking that your child is never wrong.....you were a child once.....were you always right? Be better informed.....before you start making judgement.....irregardless of what transpired....a man lost his livelyhood and has to explain to his family......a child was hurt......it's all sad......

sassylassie
442
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sassylassie 10/15/10 - 01:33 pm
0
0
The point is that the youth

The point is that the youth in mention are out of control. Sure, the officer did act with too much force. However, when are we as adults going to get control over these kids who do and say what they want, when they want, to get what they want? Having worked in the school system, I can tell you that this is a daily occurrence in some schools. The problem is that the students think they run the show and, until an adult proves them otherwise, they will continue to act in this manner. Check the other article today about the tribunals. One kid put the teacher in a headlock and IS PERMITTED TO GO TO ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL??? Where can I withdraw my tax money from funding this asinine mess? PUT THE KIDS OUT and send a message to deadbeat parents that we are not going to raise their hoodlums any longer. Let the kids who want to learn stay and get the education they deserve. As for the rest, perhaps the "alternative school" should be a military-style boot camp.

gnumbgnuts
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gnumbgnuts 10/15/10 - 01:44 pm
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My parents taught me to

My parents taught me to respect authority. I know some of you will say this guy deserves no respect, but had the girl received the same training I had as a child, the baton would have stayed in the belt.

confederatelady319
0
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confederatelady319 10/15/10 - 01:57 pm
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Thats why my children and now

Thats why my children and now there children go to private christian schools.

countyman
19711
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countyman 10/15/10 - 01:59 pm
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There are some kids who come

There are some kids who come from dysfunctional families.. There are also alot of kids who are bad and come from stable homes.

boricua1968
0
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 02:04 pm
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Liberals and student

Liberals and student discipline...if you want to make it political, the liberals disagreed with corporal punishment in the schools...they also disagreed with spankings at home...got both of them practically abolished and now there are unruly children in school...can't allow the parents nor principals to spank them so what to do? Police Officers in the school!!! Did you know that if your child becomes truant then you can be arrested for it? Did you know that if you spank your child as punishment for 'skipping' school that you could be arrested for it? Okay, no corporal punishment...let's expel the unruly kids! Liberals don't allow for that because every child has a right to go to school. Recipe for disaster...now we have kids in school with no authority figures and you cannot even get rid of them administratively.

JUSTICE187
14
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JUSTICE187 10/15/10 - 02:05 pm
0
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boricua....not all children

boricua....not all children are your child......and you are blessed to have him. I am familiar with what has transpired....but is it justification to label first the RCBE Public Safety Officers and then the Deputies at RCSO misfits? Why do you think it is appropriate to name call? It is a sad situation all the way around. Police Officers....no matter where they work have a difficult job.....do you want it? Can you do better? As adults....we should stick to the facts.....and search for a solution. These children....all children are the future of this country and it is everyone's responsibility to make sure they turn out right!!!!!!

showboat
330
Points
showboat 10/15/10 - 02:06 pm
0
0
Everyone in charge of the
Unpublished

Everyone in charge of the RCBE are missfits from the RCSD, they couldn't do the job there. Roundtree lost important recrords about cases that later was overturn.

JUSTICE187
14
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JUSTICE187 10/15/10 - 02:07 pm
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Countyman....that is so true!

Countyman....that is so true!

boricua1968
0
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 02:23 pm
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@justice187...I did not say

@justice187...I did not say that the RCSO were misfits...I said that the misfits from there are hired by the School Safety in a 'good ole boy' network type deal that used to happen with RCCI. If you can't make it at the RCSO then you have absolutely no business in the schools.

boricua1968
0
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 02:27 pm
0
0
Tough Job? When your tax

Tough Job? When your tax dollars were spent training them, did they explain that this was a tough job? Do I want the job? Nope, but that doesn't mean that I cannot comment on their performance...they work for us! I also do not want the President's job but I sometimes criticize his performance. I don't want to be a cook at KFC either but if the chicken is raw then I will complain about it.

boricua1968
0
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 02:38 pm
0
0
@sassygirl3914...so you want

@sassygirl3914...so you want the officer to fight the termination because you think his beating a child with a baton was the appropriate reaction to her 'sassiness'? She was called out of class...was going in the direction of the door and the situation could have been handled with detention or even a suspension but, instead, he cussed at her and then pushed her in the back with both hands. She didn't even complain when he cussed at her but turned around to complain about being pushed and, at that point, he threw her to the ground and started beating her with the baton. When the Asst. Principal arrived, he took over for the officer and held her down while covering her mouth with his hands to keep her from complaining about the officer. She deserved that?

Suzy Q
1
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Suzy Q 10/15/10 - 02:43 pm
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0
Unless I'm reading

Unless I'm reading incorrectly, the 'officer' pushed FIRST. He had no business pushing her as she was walking past him. NONE. If there were consequences for her cursing at him, or interjecting herself in the situation with the other students, then the teacher or someone else in administration should have seen to it promptly. Under no circumstances should he have pushed her like that. It was improper and uncalled for.

Speculating about her home life is silly and pointless. Her home life has nothing to do with her following the rules, or the officer following the rules and procedures regarding students. After he pushed her, she was wrong to turn around and 'scuffle' with him. Totally wrong. She should have gone to the administration or a teacher and had him dealt with properly.

Both parties were wrong, but he's the adult in the situation and it's his job to handle situations, not create them.

Sounds like a bully to me.

boricua1968
0
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 02:49 pm
0
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@suzy q...you comment is very

@suzy q...you comment is very timely especially considering that Lt. Roundtree just returned from a very highly publicized 'Bully Symposium' last week in order to eliminate bullying from the schools.

lawabidingcitizen
0
Points
lawabidingcitizen 10/15/10 - 03:18 pm
0
0
How about printing the entire

How about printing the entire letter especially the part that says that she ran toward the officer to fight him and hit the officer in his face and head. Where is the discipline for this "young lady" ? Why is an officer being fired for doing his job? Are officers supposed to take being hit in the face and head?

InChristLove
22459
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InChristLove 10/15/10 - 03:19 pm
0
0
The article stated "A female

The article stated "A female student "expressed an opinion of the situation and began to curse,". Seems to me if the young lady had kept her opinion to herself (since she wasn't the one being removed from the classroom at this time, only the two male students), none of this would have escalated.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but like I told my son....what goes across the brain doesn't necessarily need to come out of the mouth. Thoughts can only be heard by one person....the one thinking it.

I agree that it appears this officer when overboard, but then again...I wasn't there to witness it. boricua1968, I know you trust your son but he is retelling a story from his perspective of the situation.

Something else that no one has mentioned, even though this office pushed this student, she is the one who (according to the article) stuck this officer and a scuffle between the two occurred. Evidently something else lacking we have failed to teach our children....respect and self control. She should have ignored the push, spoken with the principal, her parents, or a guidance counsellor and let the adults handle the officer's conduct. When you think you are mature enough to physically brawl with an adult, then it's time to shut up or put up. I'm sure she figured since she was a female, she could run her mouth and nothing would happen. But then that's just my opinion after seeing some of these female's conduct in the guidance counsellors office.

HDawg
0
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HDawg 10/15/10 - 03:21 pm
0
0
If a student curses like and

If a student curses like and adult and is aggressive towards an adult, that student should expect to be treated like an adult. All of the mamby-pamby crap that people suggest to treat kids "appropriately" is exactly why kids don't respect authority. Let them get their butts kicked a few times to learn lessons. Better a lesson to be learned as a child, before they are adults when real penalties like jail time can be enforced. If they think they are big enough, they shoud be treated as such. Kids are getting more and more bold. The only remedy is to lower the hammer when they 'ask for it.'

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