Teachers at school for troubled students fear for their safety

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -Some teachers at a Dorchester County school for troubled students are worried about their own safety.

The teachers at the Givhans Alternative School in Ridgeville expressed their concerns in private emails to Live 5 News.

The school, located on Highway 61, is designed for middle and high school students who got into major trouble at their home schools.

“They got a second chance by going to the Alternative School as kind of an option instead of having to expel them,” said Dorchester School District Two security chief Preston Giet.

In the last few days, we learned that there are some serious rumblings behind the walls of the school.

The teachers sent us us emails because they are afraid of losing their jobs.

“I do not feel safe. I actually fear for my life every time I enter this building," one teacher wrote.

Another teacher wrote, "I have thought of ways to escape my classroom. I could break the windows and try to squeeze out of them. Did I mention I can't open them?"

We asked the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office for incident reports filed at the school in the last year.

Since March of 2018, more than 60 reports have been filed. Many of them were for simple assaults by students.

"There's not necessarily been a rise that's brought any type of extra concern from our views," Giet said.

In one of the reports, the school's resource officer had "a swollen right eye" and "minor scratches" under his left eye and arm while breaking up a fight.

In another report a student said "If I had a rifle he would shoot" the school principal twice.

Giet says the number of incidents at Givhans Alternative are more magnified because it has only about 200 students.

He believes one SRO is enough to keep the peace, but he’s open to adding a second officer.

"Anybody we can add there that helps to develop relationships with students and they can see law enforcement as a good thing and not the enemy, I'm always for adding extra personnel," Giet said.

We also found incidents involving a BB gun and a box cutter at Givhans Alternative.

If Sheriff L.C. Knight follows through on his request for the second SRO he will have to include it in his new budget.

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