RICHLANDS, Va. — Charges have been filed in connection with a fight between two students at Richlands High School that was labeled as bullying after a video of the altercation was shared on social media.
Richlands Police Chief J.W. Gilbert issued a statement Aug. 29 announcing the charges.
“After a thorough investigation of the fight at Richlands High School charges have been filed [in the case],” the statement read. “Due to juveniles being involved the names and charge information will not be released. Others involved in this incident that violated school policy but did not violate law have been dealt with in accordance to policy set forth by Tazewell County Public School System. We at the Richlands Police Department as well as Tazewell County Public Schools are committed in providing a safe and orderly learning environment.”
Just days after the opening of school a video was posted on Facebook showing a fight between two students that viewers labeled as bullying. Gilbert issued a statement then saying the school resource officer interviewed those involved and they said it was mutual and over a disagreement.
The report stated both boys told the officer they shook hands and the matter was over. The statement went on to say they were being disciplined according to school policy. Gilbert said the department is making every effort to keep the schools safe and stop bullying.
“Our officers are there every day. My door is always open if anybody wants to come and talk about bullying,” Gilbert said.
The school has faced accusations that bullying is a problem following the suicide deaths of two students in the last two years.
Both of the previous cases were investigated but no charges were filed. All county school system employees underwent suicide prevention training at the end of the last school year. The school system is emphasizing bullying awareness and the county and state has budgeted extra funds to pay resource officers for every school.