EASTOVER, S.C. — Parents of cadets at the SC Youth ChalleNGe Academy are speaking out about their experience Tuesday night following an "incident." Several said they had either very little or no communication with officials here at the McCrady Training Center.
Many parents explain they received calls directly from emergency room personnel about the status of their children's medical condition.
"They definitely made it sound like it wasn't a big deal and it was all handled, but I was concerned I didn't get called by the program," parent Heather Madden said.
Madden said she drove here to Columbia from Clayton, North Carolina late Tuesday night, arriving right around 1 a.m. after getting a call from an emergency room nurse.
She picked her son up and took him to stay in a local hotel overnight. This cadet, who Madden didn't want to name, was injured in the incident.
She said she was fearful of the events that happened.
"Panic because I didn't know if he was okay first. They were just asking permission to treat him," Madden said.
She explains her son was kicked in the head and his nose was bleeding.
"I have a friend named Puerto Rico. He was coming out of the bathroom and these two kids ran up on him, starting hitting him so I came and pulled one of the kids off. The kid started hitting me, so I started hitting back and he tried to tackle me and these other two kids came over. So the kid I was wrestling with grabbed my hair to pull me to the ground and then all I hear is stomping and they start stomping my head in with steel toes," the cadet said.
Heather said her son won't be coming back to the center. He withdrew this morning.
"I think it's a good program to have, I just think there's a lot of work that need to be done with managing the students and who's allowed to be in, but also with the command," Madden said.
Michael Rice is a former employee of the McCrady Training Center. He left the job last October.
"They didn't just say I want to wake up and riot. It led up to this and this boils down to the leaderships. Leadership has to lead the way, set an example, treat the staff with respect," Rice said.
Rice explains leadership change, more structure and respect can get the center back on track.
The South Carolina National Guard said they do have a system to notify parents when there is an incident. They also explain that during orientation, parents have a number to call to get information on their child.