Summerville student arrested; typical bus delays reported at Dorchester, Charleston schools

The first day of school brought the usual bus delays and traffic in Charleston and Dorchester counties.

The start of the school year at Summerville High got off to a rocky start after a teacher said a student wrote that he brought a gun to school.

Staff called police Tuesday after a teacher said she was looking through assignments Monday night and noticed a student had written something about bringing a gun to school, Dorchester District 2 spokeswoman Pat Raynor said.

The student said he was joking when confronted, but it's district policy to suspend a student for writing about bringing guns to school, Raynor said. She could not immediately say how long the student would be out of school for the infraction but said it would probably only be a few days.

No gun was found when police searched the student's locker and book bag, she said. The student was arrested and charged with disturbing schools based on his behavior after officers arrived, Raynor said.

A police department spokesman declined to provide more details Monday night.

Otherwise, only busing complaints marred the first day of classes in Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Some parents whose children attend the Charleston County School of the Arts in North Charleston contacted school district officials Tuesday after their children said they sat on their bus Monday afternoon with no air-conditioning for an estimated 40 minutes while students were shuffled on and off the bus.

Melissa Field, in an email to school officials, said her daughter didn't arrive at her bus stop in Mount Pleasant until nearly 5:40 p.m., more than two hours after school let out at 3:10 p.m.

Field said in an interview Tuesday that in previous school years, the drop-off time at her daughter's bus stop has varied by as much as an hour but never as late as it was on Monday.

"This was extreme," she said.

Curtis Norman, director of transportation for Charleston County schools, said there were typical first-day-of-school issues regarding bus routes and transportation, ranging from buses being late to breakdowns.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there had been 13 breakdowns and one minor accident involving a bus on William Kennerty Drive in West Ashley. Norman said there were no students on the bus when a car rear-ended it.

Norman said he visited several schools Monday to observe the arrival and departure of buses including West Ashley Middle School, where new routes have been added as a result of the school's merger with St. Andrews Middle.

"The end of the first day can be challenging to get 400 buses to their schools on time," he said. "Overall, the day went quite well."

The Charleston County School District welcomed back more than 47,000 students on Monday at 84 schools across the county. Dorchester District 2 also started school Monday with more than 24,300 students beginning a new school year at 22 schools. Berkeley County students returned to school Tuesday.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.