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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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libertarianvoter
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libertarianvoter 10/15/10 - 03:24 pm
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To those that are saying the

To those that are saying the student deserved what she got. Explain to me your interpretation of what she did. Also, if you have kids, would you beat your child with a baton if he/she talked back or cursed at you?

Sounds to me that all she did was talk back and curse to an officer who seems like he went into the situation stressed out. His words, "She's just stupid as h***" sounds like it came from another student (very immature). If a child talks back to you, you give them the correct discipline (after school, in-school, out of school, recommendation for expulsion). You for sure don't push her in the back especially if she's leaving the situation. He escalated the situation when it didn't need to be escalated.

You all may think, "well she deserved it." I don't think she did, but it doesn't even matter if she did deserve it, he's supposed to act like an adult who can control his anger. Pushing shows signs that he can't handle his anger like a well functioning adult should.

I don't like unruly children as much as the next person, and I think they should be punished more for their disrespect, but they shouldn't be pushed or hit. What kind of message does that send? That violence solves problems?

InChristLove
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InChristLove 10/15/10 - 03:35 pm
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libertarianvoter, this young

libertarianvoter, this young female did more than just talk back and curse. The article and another poster stated she struck the officer. If this was my child, no I wouldn't want them to be beat with a baton but then my child has been taught to repect authority even if they think the one in authority is stupid as dirt. You learn to keep your mouth shut and at the appropriate time you can voice your opinion in a calm and clear manner.

You said the officer is suppose to conduct himself like an adult and control his anger......what should he have done when she struck him....stand there and take it like a man? What if she had a weapon? Maybe a pencil and jabbed him, maybe scrapped her nails across his face, what about a pocket knife? Would you then feel he was justified in restraining this student from assaulting him?

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 10/15/10 - 04:06 pm
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A lippy, hormonal, immature,

A lippy, hormonal, immature, emotional, impulsive 8th grade girl without a weapon, making no threats and and only spewing a loud, unwelcome opinion, doesn't seem to warrant being pushed when, as instructed, she was leaving the room, then being grabbed by the throat and finally being held down and bludgeoned with a baton.

If this had been my daughter mouthing off like that and walking past an officer with fists clinched, she'd be grounded and doing community service every weekend until May.

And I would sue the ever-living daylights out of this neanderthal Lillard and the Richmond County BOE for having hired him in the first place.

KingJames
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KingJames 10/15/10 - 04:04 pm
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There's a new story about an

There's a new story about an 11-year old at Sego Middle School who has been charged with slamming his teacher's arm in a door several times, knocking over computers, and being disruptive. That kid should have had to meet former Officer Lillard.

boricua1968
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boricua1968 10/15/10 - 04:16 pm
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I can't believe you

I can't believe you people...I am as conservative and Republican as gold is shiny and I don't believe in coddling children but the posts saying that the girl deserved being beaten for running her mouth?!? @INCHRISTLOVE...YES my child was telling me the story from his perspective! As an uninvolved EYEWITNESS. The story also got told by the perspective of the officer who WAS involved and HIS story got him fired!! So, who do you believe? The perspective of the officer that writes a report knowing that his job is on the line or the perspective of a child that had nothing to do with it other than watching it? You sure are quick to judge what the girl MIGHT have been thinking at the time even though you were NOT there and have CHRIST in your posting name.

Jillian
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Jillian 10/15/10 - 04:18 pm
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Almost any news channel you

Almost any news channel you flip to these days has another story of these bullies out of control in the schools. Teacher's need to regain control and I applaud all those who are fighting back against these thug's. Lock them up and see if the guard's in jail put up with their loud mouths and disrespect.

HephzibahLady
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HephzibahLady 10/15/10 - 04:20 pm
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I have to admit, those

I have to admit, those officers in our schools have to put up with allot. A couple of years ago I saw one officer that had his face all scratched up because a high school girl with fake finger nails clawed him in the face. Not to mention that I've seen students try to stab them with pens, pencils, throw chairs and other items at them. These officers should be commended for the work they do. They put up with some of the same types of crimes as the sheriffs department handles yet they are not allowed to handle the kids like criminals.

What if your child was the one being bullied, given drugs or yet had a gun pointed in their face by an elementary student. And yes that has happened, just a couple of weeks ago. Wouldn’t you want an officer there to look out for your son or daughter?
Yes the officer went too far in striking the girl with the baton. But you should not set your opinion about them from the other two incidents. There are several good officers out there protecting our kids and I am thankful to have them in our schools.

baseballmom3
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baseballmom3 10/15/10 - 04:51 pm
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Well we have a new Super. in

Well we have a new Super. in town. Let's see what he does about all of this. I am sorry but I agree, that this stuff about students abusing the teachers and system needs to stop. Make alternative a boot style camp. Something has got to change because continually throwing more tax dollars is not solving the issues and the parents surely aren't doing anything to help. I went on a field trip with my childs school and we got back to the school an hour before it let out. There were quite a few parents already sitting out in the parking lot waiting to pick up their children. If you have that much time to just sit, get out of the car and go in these schools and do bus duty or something. Get off of your lazy butts and do something to help, sit in a class for a teacher and grade papers, run errands for the teacher, do something besides sit in the parking lot waiting on your precious to get out. And they wonder why our city is turning into a war zone, killings every day on the news. Maybe one day they will just kill each other out and there will be no more..

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 10/15/10 - 04:57 pm
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All these comments will not

All these comments will not help the officer get another job to support his family, who is innocent in this.

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 10/15/10 - 04:58 pm
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boricua1968, if Murphey is so

boricua1968, if Murphey is so bad why do you children still go to school there? Other parents have figured out how to use someone else's address to send their kids to another school.

myparrot
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myparrot 10/15/10 - 05:10 pm
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"Several studies have been

"Several studies have been conducted on human memory and on subjects’ propensity to remember erroneously events and details that did not occur. Elizabeth Loftus performed experiments in the mid-seventies demonstrating the effect of a third party’s introducing false facts into memory.4 Subjects were shown a slide of a car at an intersection with either a yield sign or a stop sign. Experimenters asked participants questions, falsely introducing the term "stop sign" into the question instead of referring to the yield sign participants had actually seen. Similarly, experimenters falsely substituted the term "yield sign" in questions directed to participants who had actually seen the stop sign slide. The results indicated that subjects remembered seeing the false image. In the initial part of the experiment, subjects also viewed a slide showing a car accident. Some subjects were later asked how fast the cars were traveling when they "hit" each other, others were asked how fast the cars were traveling when they "smashed" into each other. Those subjects questioned using the word "smashed" were more likely to report having seen broken glass in the original slide. The introduction of false cues altered participants’ memories." from Stanford Journal of Legal Studies.

Having been in a classroom when seated you can not see nor can you hear everything. Your mind concludes what you see with what you hear and this becomes truth. That is why we have some people convicted when they are innocent.

InChristLove
22480
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InChristLove 10/15/10 - 05:19 pm
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boricua1968, My comments were

boricua1968, My comments were made according to what the article stated. I made no judgment on what the girl might have been thinking, just stating an opinon, because I wasn't there to witness it. Neither were you. As has been proven, show a film with a crime taking place. Then afterwards ask several witnesses what they saw and most times you will get conflicting stories. I wasn't insinuating your son was lying, just that he saw what happen through one viewpoint. What does Christ being in my name have anything to do with it? Is it your opinion that because I am a Christian and believe in Christ that somehow my opinion isn't worth as much as yours?

bettyboop
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bettyboop 10/15/10 - 05:17 pm
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This person should have been

This person should have been expelled....when the inmates take over the asylum we have these types of situations....kick the "child"(yeah right) out of school give the Officer his job back and replace insanity with order.....there will never be excellence in these schools a long as the cretins have the upper hand.......welcome to the zoo.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/15/10 - 05:16 pm
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When I was about 18, I

When I was about 18, I learned what could happen to you if you disrespected an officer. Later I learned how an officer can be very lenient with you if you show him courtesy.

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