Meridian Star

Local News

August 29, 2006

Carver students charged with arson

Reaction came fast as the news circulated Tuesday afternoon that police had made four arrests in an arson last week at the Boys and Girls Club.

Fueling anger even more was the fact that two of those arrested — an 11-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy — were students of Carver Middle School, according to Meridian Police Lt. Dean Harper.

A third student arrested was a 14-year-old boy who attended Kate Griffin Junior High School, Harper said. Fire Chief Jeff Homan said the fourth suspect was also a juvenile boy, although his age and school were unknown at press time.

All four were charged with first-degree arson.

Officials said the fire at the Boys and Girls Club was set Aug. 22, a school night, after midnight.

“How can four juveniles not be in their houses at that time of the morning?” Homan said. “I think the parents need to be more accountable.”

Carver Middle School was closed for repairs after a fire on Aug. 15, during the second week of the new school year, caused heavy damage. Meridian police charged janitor Jerry Thigpen with first-degree arson in connection with the incident.

After the Carver fire, the Boys and Girls Club became home base for Carver’s sixth-graders — and Kate Griffin Junior High adopted Carver’s seventh-graders.

“Who can make any sense out of it?” said Carver principal Martha Walker, after dismissing the school’s sixth-grade class at the Boys and Girls Club Tuesday afternoon. “I just hate to think that any of our students would resort to anything like that.”

Walker was still receiving “grapevine” reports of the arson arrests before Tuesday night’s meeting with parents of Carver sixth-graders at the Boys and Girls Club.

The meeting doubled as a “meet the teachers” night, since the originally-scheduled session didn’t happen because the Carver fire.

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