Fayetteville School District is aware of and has investigated an incident involving a few FHS students at a weekend party three weeks ago. School district policies govern students while attending school, while on school property or when attending school-sponsored activities. The high school administration followed the district’s Student Discipline Policy. The federal FERPA (Family Educational Right to Privacy Act) prohibits the release of student records to anyone other than the student’s parent/guardian or law enforcement.
“Although one or more FHS students demonstrated inappropriate behavior, we recognize choices of a few do not reflect the values or standards of the majority of students attending Fayetteville Public Schools, said Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt. “School and district administrators followed laws and policies, and through a deliberate and focused process correctly determined this issue was a matter for law enforcement. I offer a personal thank you to the Fayetteville Police Department for their partnership and investigation into this serious community matter. Fayetteville Public Schools is fortunate to have experienced and dedicated School Resource Officers to address law enforcement issues.” For more information, please see the Fayetteville Police Department’s statement below.
Statement from the Fayetteville Police Department:
“On September 15, 2016, a video circulating on social media was brought to the attention of a Fayetteville Police Department School Resource Officer. The video was a short, cell phone clip showing a group of young men and a goat. One of the young men was seen using the goat’s horn to puncture a beverage can – the young man drank the beverage and the video ended. This video has caused some understandable concerns and questions. In the process of investigating the young men’s behavior, and the welfare of the goat, the Criminal Investigation Division and the prosecutors’ offices (Washington County and City of Fayetteville) were consulted.
As the video gained more social media attention, there was much speculation as to what exactly had transpired with the goat, and to what extent the incident was investigated. Many hours were spent locating the goat and verifying its condition. All the individuals involved were located and interviewed. During the course of the investigation, it was learned the goat was rented as a practical joke for one of their friends. The goat was returned to its owner, who claimed she had been returned unharmed. The goat’s owner does not live in Fayetteville.
During the course of this investigation, the Washington County and the Fayetteville City Prosecutors’ offices were consulted and kept informed. Investigators and prosecutors determined the behavior depicted in the video did not meet the criteria of the Aggravated Animal Cruelty statute A.C.A. 5-62-104, which is a class D felony. Investigators evaluated other possible misdemeanor crimes of animal cruelty and any underage drinking violations. Under the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure, an officer cannot make an arrest for these types of misdemeanor crimes without a warrant, unless the crime happened in the officer’s presence. Even if the event was on video, a warrantless arrest cannot be made.
The case has been forwarded to the prosecutors’ offices for review to determine if misdemeanor charges will be filed. Information on individuals under eighteen (18) will be forwarded to the Washington County Juvenile Prosecutor, and information for those eighteen (18) and over will be forwarded to the City of Fayetteville Prosecutor.
Information of alleged crimes that happened outside of the Fayetteville city limits has been forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and any new or additional information will also be forwarded to the appropriate agency.”