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Richmond County tribunal expels accused students

Other teens may attend Davidson

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Four students accused of setting fire to a Hephzibah High School JROTC building in June have been expelled for one year, according to Richmond County tribunal findings made public Thursday.

Meanwhile, two Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School students have been allowed to return to class despite an off-campus incident involving an explosive device.

The tribunal for the fire case, held Aug. 6, involved two Hephzibah High students and two Hephzibah Middle students who were charged by police with arson and interference with government property, both felonies.

The students' names weren't in a tribunal report, but their initials were: J.T, A.S., R.T. and D.M. Five people were arrested in the case -- three juveniles and James "Trey" Schlein, 19, of the 4800 block of Story Mill Road in Hephzibah, and Antonio Sinkler, 19, of the 2900 block of Old Lake Road in Hephzibah.

School safety Lt. Richard Roundtree said indictments have not yet been issued. Authorities are awaiting results from the crime lab and an arson report. As of Thursday afternoon, Schlein and Sinkler remained at the Richmond County jail.

The tribunal report states that four students went to Hephzibah High "on or about" June 17 with an adult.

"The students and adult broke into the concession area and the (J)ROTC building," the tribunal finding notes. "While inside the (J)ROTC building, they set a jacket on fire and left it burning inside the building. As the students left the area, they threw rocks in an attempt to disable the surveillance camera."

The building, which served as an indoor firing range, was destroyed and will cost $500,000 to replace. The tribunal finding states that the students were expelled for one school year after being found in violation of Rule 32 in the county's Code of Student Conduct and Discipline, which addresses "disrupting school operations and off-campus conduct."

"Upon final disposition of the criminal matter and after the expulsion period, a tribunal may be held to determine the students' placement," the finding states.

In a separate case involving two Davidson Fine Arts students on Aug. 11, authorities ruled they could return to Davidson.

The students, who weren't identified in the tribunal report but who police have named as Matthew Cornelison and Stuart Sims, were charged with manufacturing and transporting a destructive device/explosive and reckless conduct in an off-campus incident during the summer.

The two, both 17, suffered a severe reaction to chlorine after police say they set off a pipe bomb July 1 in an open McCormick County field. Investigators later seized nearly a dozen firearms, a 10-foot "potato gun" and other items from Sims' house. Sims' parents told investigators they had purchased the firearms for hunting. A homemade "sniper-style" ghillie suit and ammunition also were confiscated.

"However, no malicious intent or intent to harm anyone was shown," their tribunal report states. "The principal testified that the students' attendance at Davidson would not present a danger to anyone nor would it create a disruption. Both students are seniors, have very high grades and presented numerous teacher letters recommending their return to Davidson."

No indictments have been filed.

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lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 08/26/10 - 01:52 pm
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expelled for one

expelled for one year!??!?!?!?!?!?! are you kiding me, these 4 individuals set a fire that caused a half million dollars in damage and the only thing they get is a year's vacation...how about jail for arson??? how about permanent expulsion and let thier parents figure away to get them an education even if it means enrolling them in a school outside of the county!!!! oh, yeah if forgot this is richmond county, the county that failed to meet ayp, has declining enrollment levels thereby putting importance on maintaining enrollment levels current an in the future, so yeah i understand the rationale of giving them a year's vacation then let them back in next year the school district needs all the students it can get to prevent loss of education funding...well there's always the "knucklehead"...ooops i mean the race for the top money

smec29
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smec29 08/26/10 - 02:00 pm
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lifelong, this is just the

lifelong, this is just the school's ruling, not the criminal court ruling.

Sweet son
10415
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Sweet son 08/26/10 - 02:29 pm
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Come on Preston, please

Come on Preston, please reread your report and fix the grammar!

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 08/26/10 - 04:22 pm
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i understand. they should

i understand. they should have been prosecuted criminally first!!!!!1

countyman
20144
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countyman 08/26/10 - 04:41 pm
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Richmond County's enrollment

Richmond County's enrollment isn't declining.... A new middle school(Pine Hill)opened in South Augusta(Hephzibah address but not in the city limits of Hephzibah) in August 2009....

A $25 million vocational high school is about to start construction near Augusta Tech in South Augusta... I don't know you keep posting the same false information almost every day.

badassie
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badassie 08/26/10 - 05:34 pm
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Lifelongresident I agree with

Lifelongresident I agree with what you said.
But what is worse is more bad advice from the non functioning Tribunal system. $500,000 that someone has to pay. Who will it be? Me, you, the Federal Government, Insurance? They are all inter-related. The burden is still placed on the main one I left out the tax-payer.
They all should have been treated as adults and sent to prison. Let me destroy a half million dollars in anything and I'm sure I will get life...... Expulsion for 1 year? What a joke! What did that teach them? They can leave Richmond Country and go to any school they choose. They can do the same thing again or worse and it may be the same results. What justice is there in this Tribunal system? It's weak and should be abolished. Those were criminal acts and should be treated as such. Can you believe what we pay those lawyers and their partnership to provide such service(s)? People are we stupid or what? We should be simply [filtered word] at the outcome of these findings. But it was all legal with expensive lawyers. It's just another bad chapter in Richmond Counties inabliity to handle it's business. Our community should not have to indure this kind of nonsense. My final say on this and I wouldn't be shocked if those kids were not black. I'm done. I'm shaking my head and just walking away from this nonsense.........

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 08/26/10 - 08:46 pm
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How about the parents coming

How about the parents coming up with the 500K?

LAughing
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LAughing 08/27/10 - 04:45 am
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GI'mar, You are absolutely

GI'mar,

You are absolutely right, one should not expect only, criminals to flame up!

I wish I had an Austailian updide down exclame!

Cameoflauge

disssman
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disssman 08/27/10 - 06:30 am
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Countyman. Just because we

Countyman. Just because we are building schools, to make the "stakeholders" happy, dosen't necessarilly mean we have more students. Heck we would build chicken coops if we could call them something that would pass during a SPLOST vote.

disssman
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disssman 08/27/10 - 06:34 am
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CM. I also forgot to add.

CM. I also forgot to add. What is it going to cost in busses, drivers, gasoline and maintenance, to get students, county wide, to the new vocational H.S. ? I wonder if any studys were done to assess the actual cost for this H.S. ,or was it just a gut estimate that we now live with.

disssman
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disssman 08/27/10 - 06:36 am
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Another good example of our

Another good example of our judicial system. The thing to remember is, these punks are now free to roam the streets for a year, looking for houses to break into or vehicles to steal.

I seriously doubt that they will see the inside of a court room for criminal charges, except for the grown ups.

cristinadh
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cristinadh 08/27/10 - 06:53 am
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Richmond County School System

Richmond County School System is a broken system.. has been broken and will remain like that.. Just step into a school one day and see for yourself..

JustMe
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JustMe 08/27/10 - 08:04 am
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Doesn't anyone read???????

Doesn't anyone read??????? The criminal case isn't done yet. You all know how long they take. (two Hephzibah High students and two Hephzibah Middle students who were charged by police with arson and interference with government property, both felonies)
Geez ya'll wake up and quit complaining when obviously you got bad grades in reading comprehension when you were in school.

justus4
101
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justus4 08/27/10 - 08:22 am
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Are similar report given on
Unpublished

Are similar report given on that other county and its school operations? It seems that the local printing operation works in concert with other agencies to insert "public opinion" into matters that should be an administrative function. That new Superintendent should take careful note and establish an escape hatch for these types of silly ambushes on that district. Because this is just the beginning of whats to come...

countyman
20144
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countyman 08/27/10 - 09:13 am
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Dissman..... I tend to stick

Dissman..... I tend to stick to the facts, and let other people on here give their opinions...

GA gave RC about 300k extra for increased enrollment..

CoastalDawg
125
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CoastalDawg 08/27/10 - 09:38 am
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I am constantly amazed at the

I am constantly amazed at the way that some posters write before they apparently have actually read the article to which they are commenting. The criminal justice system, as stated in the article, is waiting on reports (long overdue in my opinion) before the grand jury will consider indictments. Meanwhile, the school year has begun so a determination on those students' eligibility to attend school had to be addressed - as stated, the situation will be revisited again when needed - if the students are guilty as determined by a jury, that situation won't need to be addressed if they are in prison. I would suggest that potential posters read, re-read, and try to understand an article before hitting the keyboard and writing for or against things that are clearly stated in the article.

concernednative
28
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concernednative 08/27/10 - 12:46 pm
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well said coastaldawg

well said coastaldawg

gaspringwater
3
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gaspringwater 08/28/10 - 12:58 pm
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The building that burned was

The building that burned was a 3,000-square-foot wooden structure and probably built on a concrete slab. It was probably old and dilapidated which is customary for school property. A half a million appraisal seems to be a stretch. Over flogging the delinquent kids and milking the insurance company.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-17/5-teens-sought...

corgimom
32615
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corgimom 08/28/10 - 09:17 pm
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If Countyman doesn't agree

If Countyman doesn't agree with you, it's "false information".

He never has come up with an explanation of how 44% of Laney students missed 15 or more days of school but graduation rates rose by an astonishing rate- that is statistically impossible to achieve. Unless, of course, you consider the theory that they gave out diplomas to people that didn't earn them.

corgimom
32615
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corgimom 08/28/10 - 09:18 pm
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gas- go back and read the

gas- go back and read the story again. It's not about the value of what was burnt, it's this- "The building, which served as an indoor firing range, was destroyed and will cost $500,000 to replace." Because the new building will have to meet 2010 code.

gaspringwater
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gaspringwater 08/28/10 - 09:55 pm
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corgimom - I went back and

corgimom - I went back and read the article again and you're correct. The $500,000 number is replacement cost. But look up square foot building cost and you'll find construction cost for a single story office building in Atlanta is $146.00 per square foot.

$146.00 per sq foot times 3,000 sq foot is $438,000 and a hollow building used for a firing range should be even less expensive than an office building. So the $500,000 dollars estimate is on the high side.

Further, the building that burned down was an old wooden building and probably near the end of its useful life. A $50 per sq foot value would be about right. So the delinquent kids burned down a building that was only worth about $15,000.

But read the news articles and you'll get the misinformation that they burned down a half a million dollar building.

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 08/28/10 - 10:02 pm
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Springwater, square footage

Springwater, square footage cost are what we refer to in the business, as "fluid!"They change from day to day, sometimes, hour to hour, depending on where the contractors buy their materials. It's never static!

gaspringwater
3
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gaspringwater 08/28/10 - 11:45 pm
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Sargebaby - Thanks. I know

Sargebaby - Thanks. I know we're dealing with estimates here and a plus or minus swing of 10% is a reasonable expectation.

And I guess you'll agree, hungry contractors will jump at jobs with lean profit margins these days.

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