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Charges for food fight, but not theft and vandalism? | News

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Charges for food fight, but not theft and vandalism?

KENNESAW, Ga. - After Henry County filed criminal charges against several students who staged a food fight at their school, a group of Cobb County parents are asking why the same can't be done to students accused of theft and vandalism at Kennesaw Mountain High School. 

Even after two students admitted their part in the act and were disciplined for it, no charges have been filed.


Students speak out in support of school's reaction after food fight

"What they did was ten times worse than what the students [in Henry County] did," said Kennesaw Mountain parent Robert Atkinson, whose son lost an expensive pair of shoes. "The two punishments just don't meet, they should be reversed."

After a wrestling match between several schools in January, Cobb County confirmed the basketball locker room at KMHS was vandalized, with several items stolen. 

There were a handful of schools present at the competition, and officials said no one could tell who was responsible. But then a parent whose son had his phone stolen used special software to track it down to Central Gwinnett High School.

That's when school administrators said two students admitted their role in the theft and returned a pair of headphones, shoes and the phone. Gwinnett County said the culprits were varsity wrestlers, but would not elaborate on how they were disciplined. Gwinnett also agreed to reimburse Cobb for the locker room damage when it is fixed.

There was surveillance video taken outside the locker room that apparently shows two students walking in with an empty bag, and out with a full one. 

Cobb County has declined to release that video, saying it's a part of confidential student records. In a statement, they said they left the choice to press charges up to the parents who had their property stolen. Cobb schools spokesman Jay Dillon said each of those parents declined. He also said because there was no video showing the actual theft, they couldn't prove who took Atkinson's shoes, and therefore he couldn't press charges.

But Thursday evening the parent who tracked her son's phone to Gwinnett County told 11Alive she couldn't wait to press charges, but was never contacted with the option. Another parent who hadn't had her son's stuff returned was also waiting to hear from the school.

"You have him on tape going down the hall empty handed and coming back down the hall looking like Santa Claus," said parent Pat Brown of the unreleased security footage. "Of course I want to press charges-they never contacted us."