West Lauderdale High School

West Lauderdale High School

Lauderdale County Sheriff deputies on Thursday arrested five West Lauderdale High School students accused in an alleged gang rape of another juvenile.

"What's been reported... it's disturbing," Lauderdale County School District Superintendent Randy Hodges said. "It's one of the most disturbing things that's happened at our school."

Lauderdale County Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun said some of the students were arrested at school and others were arrested at home.

Because the five students are all juveniles, their names were not released.

Calhoun said all five students faced sexual battery charges and their cases will be handled by the Lauderdale County Youth Court. Calhoun said that in every case, as the investigation continues, additional charges could be filed.

The crime occurred off-campus over a weekend in March and had nothing to do with a school event, according to Calhoun.

Because the parties involved are all juveniles, Calhoun said, he can't comment further.

Hodges said that the West Lauderdale High School administration reported the accusations to him and to the police. Hodges added that they told law enforcement officers they would cooperate in every way they could with the investigation.

"We're just waiting on the facts," Hodges said. "The school district will respond appropriately and then make a decision that's best for the students."

Even though the crime occurred off school property, the school district can still suspend the students involved and transfer them to an alternative school, Hodges said.

Hodges confirmed that one student charged is an athlete.

"But we're not going to be focused on athletics," Hodges said. "We're going to be focused on what's best for the students."

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