The National Guard said several cadets were taken to the hospital for treatment and observation after the “incident.”
RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — Several cadets at the South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy were taken to the hospital after an incident Tuesday evening.
Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, Adjutant General of the South Carolina National Guard, gave a brief statement hours after the incident, saying the incident was “under control.”
Earlier in the evening, in announcing the press conference, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said McCarty would make a comment “regarding the riots.”
McCarty did not use that term, however. He also did not say what led up to the incident or what transpired on the property.
The general said it all happened at the McCrady Training Center, which is just a few miles from where Leesburg Road meets Highway 601 in Richland County. It’s also where the SC Youth Challenge program is housed.
Multiple police vehicles as well as ambulances could be seen going through the entrance of the training center, which is operated by the South Carolina National Guard.
McCarty said Fort Jackson Military Police and other agencies, including the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Columbia Police, all responded.
McCarty said several cadets were taken to the hospital for treatment and observation and that their parents are being notified.
The general said the South Carolina National Guard would cooperate with the investigation.
“We’re committed to ensuring that our cadets are safe at all times,” McCarty said.
Just hours earlier, LaToya Reed, the SC Youth Challenge Academy Director, issued a statement on the program’s Facebook page.
“It came to our attention that a message was posted on social media regarding the safety of our soon to be cadets,” she wrote. “We are only in our second week and this is a typical reaction of teenagers who will do and say anything to get back home. We expect this kind of behavior, so it’s not new to us, but it can be alarming to you as a parent and to the community. I assure you that the kids are safe and we are dealing with the same behaviors any other school or other program has to manage when it comes to teenagers.”
The Youth Challenge Academy was created in 1998 and its website says its missing is to “prepare youth to develop personal, academic, and career success through education, mentoring, and training.”
It specifically is for high school dropouts, potential dropouts, or students who have been expelled. It’s available to teens ranging in age from 16 to 18 years old.
Once accepted, the cadets, as they are known, are in the the residential program for five and a half months. Some students then selected for a job corps program, where at the end they can get their GED or trade certificate and go into the Armed Services.