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South Carolina District Sued Over 2022 School Shooting

Greenville school district accused of “concealing the true extent of dangerous activity.”

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The family of a 12-year-old boy murdered at a Greenville County, South Carolina middle school have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county school district – accusing it of “concealing how dangerous its schools are.”

That allegation could provide fresh momentum for the fledgling school choice movement in the Palmetto State – which supporters believe is on the cusp of a significant expansion due to the ongoing deterioration of the government-run system.

“By concealing the true extent of dangerous activity at its schools, (the district) attempts to avoid public accountability and scrutiny and therefore is not forced to make meaningful changes to protect students from harm,” the lawsuit alleged.

According to the filing, the Greenville school district dramatically underreported crime at its schools in reports provided to the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE).

“Police reports of aggravated assaults and drug distribution offenses were several times more than what (the district) reported,” the lawsuit alleged, citing similar discrepancies in the district’s reporting of weapons charges, sexual assaults, robberies and kidnappings.

They also cited an incident from earlier this year in which another Tanglewood student brought a gun to school.

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The lawsuit (.pdf) was filed by attorneys Bill Young and Margie Pizzaro on behalf of the family of the late Jamari Jackson.

Jackson, 12, was shot and killed on the afternoon of March 31, 2022 at Tanglewood Middle School five miles southwest of downtown Greenville. He was shot in the chest during a class change at approximately 12:23 p.m. EDT and pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a local hospital.

Jackson’s alleged killer – 14-year-old Jordan Williams Jr. – was captured by deputies of the Greenville County sheriff’s office a little over an hour after the shooting in possession of a handgun believed to have been used in the murder. He has since been charged with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, possession of a firearm on school property and unlawful possession of a weapon by a juvenile.

Williams Jr. will be tried as an adult following a recent court hearing held before S.C. thirteenth circuit family court judge Jessica Ann Salvini. According to Salvini, Jackson’s murder was accomplished in a “very violent, willful and premeditated manner.”

“The manner in which he carried out the crime was sophisticated to some degree based on his level of planning,” Salvini said during a hearing held last month. “He told other classmates that he was going to essentially murder the victim.”

Salvini also cited testimony from a classmate who said Williams Jr. told her if she didn’t like it “she would be shot as well.”

Furthermore, Williams Jr. penned a rap lyric prior to the shooting boasting that “at twelve I caught my first body.”

(Click to View)

Jordan Williams Jr.‘s rap lyrics. (Pool)

Williams Jr. is being held by the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ). He has not been an ideal detainee since his incarceration, either.

“He has taunted individuals and staff at the detention facility,” Salvini said. “He’s refused to comply with requests from the authorities. There were opportunities where there were conflicts between him and other juveniles where he could have walked away – but then chose to engage in a physical altercation where he was the aggressor and was striking the other juveniles.”

The lawsuit from Jackson’s family named the Greenville school district, its superintendent Burke Royster, Tanglewood principal Grayson Walles and Tanglewood assistant principal Harold McPhail – along with five unnamed individuals who were “acting on the part of (the district)” and who worked at Tanglewood at the time of the shooting.

According to the pleading, district officials knew Williams Jr. “had a propensity for physical violence and aggressiveness” and “knew or should have known any disagreements involving (Williams Jr.) could and would intensify until he became physically violent.”

The filing also named Williams’ father – Jordan Williams Sr. – as well as his aunt, Tekoa Althea Williams, as co-defendants, along with the owner of the property Williams Sr. rented.

Violence at government-run schools in South Carolina has been on the upswing in recent years. Last fall, our Andy Fancher filed this exclusive report detailing a rash of incidents at the Beaufort County School District (BCSD) in the the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Count on our media outlet to stay on top of this worsening epidemic – as well as renewed efforts by parents to take greater control over their children’s academic futures.

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THE FILING …

(S.C. Thirteenth Judicial Circuit)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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