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14 students, 1 staff member injured in fights at Youth Academy in Richland County, officials say

The guard said it took about an hour to get the incident under control.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina National Guard is giving new information on a fight that took place at the McCrady Training Center, including that over a dozen cadets there had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

The guard issued a statement Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the incident. 

The guard said around 5 p.m. Tuesday, a fight broke out between cadets at the South Carolina Job Challenge program, which is housed at the McCrady Training Center near Eastover. The base said the fight started over a personal matter but didn't elaborate. Eventually, officials said a separate fight broke out between cadets at the Youth Challenge program. Program staff then notified McCrady Training Center security, who in turn contacted Fort Jackson Military Police who also brought in local law enforcement. (McCrady Training Center is under Fort Jackson's jurisdiction.)

Dozens of police and emergency vehicles could be seeing entering the center as this was all happening. 

The guard said it took about an hour to get the incident under control. A total of 14 cadets and one staff member had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. All were released Tuesday night, the guard said, either back to the program or to their parents.

Eight of the injured cadets were from the Job Challenge Program while six were from the Youth Challenge Program. All those injured range in age from 15 to 18 years old. 

The guard said no weapons were found for either fight. The guard said a surprise room inspection last weekend also found no weapons.

The Youth and Job challenge programs are currently in a standdown right now while staff looks at how the event was handled, how they can be prevented, and where the response could be made better.

The guard said some parents have chose to have their children leave the program but they will continue this training cycle for those who choose to stay at the challenge program. Counselors are also being provided.

The guard said it's still under investigation how many cadets might be dismissed. 

This latest cycle of new cadets had only just begun. According to the guard, the current cycle of Youth ChalleNGe cadets started on January 9, while the Job ChalleNGe cycle began January 6. The guard said the Youth ChalleNGe program is currently in the acclimation phase, which is designed to help the cadets change past behavior, to learn the rules and procedures of the program, and to help them develop life-coping skills, learning personal financial management, teamwork skills, anger management, and drug and alcohol avoidance strategies.


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