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Victims in high school beating suspended

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Elaine Rackley

erackley@henryherald.com

Authorities are using video footage taken from a surveillance camera at Henry County High school to try to determine the identities of at least 12 to 15 men, in their early 20's, who beat up a Henry County High School student and his brother.

One of the victims, Keyun Partee, of McDonough, was in Henry County Magistrate Court Monday, to answer a felony charge for hiding a knife in his younger brother's book bag, which the younger sibling brought to the school. Partee said it was for his protection.

Magistrate Court Judge Robert Godwin bound the case over to Superior Court without increasing Partee's $5,050 bond. Partee received the bond during his first appearance in the court on March 1. It was set to guarantee his appearance Monday.

Partee's mother, Sheila Partee, accompanied him to court. She believes there was an understandable reason why her older son slipped the knife into his younger brother's book bag. "I don't condone him bringing the knife to school," she said. "He brought it to protect himself, and his little brother."

The family referred to a police report that was filed with the McDonough Police Department, about an incident on Feb. 25. Keyun, she said, was walking home with his younger brother from a neighborhood park, when a pistol was pointed at the two boys by someone in an approaching car.

"One of the guys rolled down the window and held up a pistol, then started laughing, and they drove off," explained Keyun Partee.

Henry County Sheriff's Office School Resource Officer David Bishop arrested Partee on Feb. 28, after officials at the high school discovered the knife. Partee, 17, told school officials he hid the knife in the bookbag, without the juvenile's knowledge, said Bishop.

"Earlier in the day, on Feb. 24, Partee and another student got into a verbal confrontation at school. They were about to fight, when Asst. Principal [Brenton] Stenson blew a whistle to break up the incident and took Partee to the principal's office to cool down," said Bishop.

"The other student left campus and went home to get his brother, and the other men -- and that's when the physical altercation took place," said Bishop.

Around 5 p.m., four cars filled with 12 to 15 young men in their 20's, pulled up to the school, where the young men jumped out and began to beat Partee, according to Bishop. Only one of the suspects was identified as a student, said Bishop. The Henry County High School student involved in the fight with Partee, "has been dealt with on a school-level, internally," added the officer.

"We have some of the names of the people on the tape," said Bishop. "We believe they are past graduates of the school."

The officer said he does have a motive for why the men beat Partee. He acknowledged that gang activity does exist in the county's schools. "We don't know if they are gang members, or not. They could be," said Bishop. "Partee has never been identified as a gang member."

The officer said the beating remains under investigation, as officials work to identify each person appearing in the surveillance video. "They [gangs] are not being tolerated in our schools," Bishop continued. "Once we identify the members ... they will be dealt with."

Bishop said known gangs in the area are the "Gangster Disciples," the "YSG" gang, which is the Young Savages Goons, and the "GMG," the Get Money Goons.

Partee is a new student at Henry County High School, who has only attended the school since October, said his father, Leon Partee.

"I think this is unfortunate; my son is charged with a felony," said the father. "Because he brought a knife to protect him and his brother, which the school was in charge of doing.

"What he did was wrong, and I told him it was wrong," he continued. " But I am saying you have to look at the circumstances of why he brought the knife to school. You have four carloads of adults, who are out of school, coming on school property.

"Where was the security?" asked Leon Partee. "What about the cameras?"

The boys were kicked in the face, body slammed, and fought "their hearts out" to defend themselves, he said. "The real catch is, when we filed a Police report with McDonough Police Department about the fight, we were told it was the school's jurisdiction," he said. "But when I talked with the principal, Scott John, he said it was the police jurisdiction.

"They suspended my boys for fighting, but ignored the men that trespassed on school grounds and beat the "hell out of them."