Security video shows adult gave seniors access for ‘prank’ – Coastal Observer


Security video shows adult gave seniors access for ‘prank’

The Warrior mascot, stolen earlier in the spring, was moved from the stadium to the atrium during ‘prank.’

At 8:30 on a Sunday evening in May, two students met an adult in a parking lot behind Waccamaw High School. They walked to a door that leads to the gym. Minutes later, the students were in the atrium. They opened the front door, but one had second thoughts. That student ran back into the school, grabbed a Wet Floor sign and used it to prop open the entrance door.

For the next three hours, students wandered through the school in a “senior prank” that led the Georgetown County School District to reassign the principal Adam George. 

“None of those people were Adam George,” Lindsay Anne Thompson, the school district attorney, said of the people seen at the back of the school. “One is an adult. I can confirm that.”

She did not identify the person district 

officials believe unlocked the school for the students and then left.

The district allowed the Coastal Observer to watch over an hour of security video recorded at the school on May 21, but only in a way that none of the students could be identified, mainly by providing wide angle views.

The cameras have the capability of zooming in on details, however. 

Four seniors received in-school suspension after the end of the school year for their roles in the incident: two boys who drove their vehicles in a mock race on the track and two girls who spray painted Class of 2023 on a rooftop HVAC unit, Thompson said.

“The investigation has never closed. It’s been continuous since it first came to our attention,” said Alan Walters, the district’s director of safety. 

The district provided documents in response to an open records request that showed the school’s alarm system had been turned off for the entire weekend. The initial reports submitted by George the morning after the incident said “a few things were done inside the school,” including balloons and streamers in the cafeteria and front hall and cooking oil sprayed in the gym lobby. He also reported the driving on the track and the spray paint.

The school was cleaned up before students arrived.

The district placed George on administrative leave last month while it continued investigating.

“It’s more extensive than we originally thought,” Thompson said. “It’s all small stuff, but it adds up. Nor should they have been in the building in the first place. That’s the biggest issue.”

Students said that George gave them permission to carry out a prank. He denied that. Thompson reviewed his email and that of other staff members and found no evidence to the contrary.

George has declined to comment on the incident since he was removed as principal earlier this month.

Security video shows students who had set up tents in front of the school heading toward the front door after it was opened. The largest group of students who appear at any one time is between 15 and 20. A couple can be seen riding down the hall on skateboards. Two wore masks and carried backpacks.

The masked students went into a classroom where a light was on. They turned it off. They slid desks from the room into the hallway.

“There are no cameras in classrooms, offices and restrooms,” Thompson said. “Our reports that we got initially didn’t have any information about specific classrooms.”

In one hallway, students set out upturned cups on the floor. While that was being done, students passed by, some snatching papers from a notice board. One girl was lifted on the shoulders of another girl to take down a sign over a classroom door. 

When the cups were arranged, students snapped pictures.

“They lay them out in a pattern that means nothing to us. I don’t know what they’re doing,” Thompson said.

One of the masked students is seen carrying a jug of cooking oil and sloshing it on the gym floor. There is also video that shows some girls trying to clean up the oil, Walters said.

Sofas and a set of chimes from the band room were moved to the cafeteria. The sofas were moved back before the end of the night.

In the front office lobby, a student pulled a roll of ID tags from a printer. Students who wandered through would occasionally stick a label on a wall or door. They eventually got into the office itself through a back door.

At the same time, around 10:30 p.m., students carried the Warrior mascot that stands in the stadium into the atrium. They posed for more pictures.

“None of it individually is particularly malicious, particularly destructive,” Thompson said.

According to George’s reports, students volunteered to help clean up. When they learned that custodians had already done that, they bought them gift cards.

The district will provide more information in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, but Thompson said she is still compiling that.

“There’s been a lot that’s just developed,” she said. “The investigation is not over.”

George has the right to file a grievance with the school board, according to disrtict policy.

If he does there are three options: vote to affirm the administration’s decision without a hearing; vote to overturn the administration’s decision without a hearing; grant the employee a hearing and make a determination on the matter after the hearing. 

There was a discussion of a grievance during executive session  on the board’s agenda for its meeting this week. When the board returned to open session, there was no mention of the grievance.

However, the board has 10 days to notify the grievant of its decision, and 30 days after that to hold a hearing.

Thompson said because it was a “discussion of an individual’s employment” during executive session, she could not disclose the name of the person who requested a hearing. 



Georgetown County Board of Education: First and third Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Beck Education Center. For details, go to Georgetown County Council: Second and fourth Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Council Chambers, 129 Screven St., Georgetown. For details, go to Pawleys Island Town Council: Second Mondays, 5 p.m. Town Hall, 323 Myrtle Ave. For details, go to   , .