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Posted: November 08, 2018

11-year-old charged, accused of putting pins, needles in Halloween candy

Keeping Your Children Safe From Poison Candy On Halloween

By Stephanie Tinoco, WSOCTV.com

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. —

Deputies in Rowan County, North Carolina, said an 11-year-old is facing felony charges after they investigated two separate cases where parents reported finding needles or pins in their children's Halloween candy.

>> Watch the news report here

Investigators said the 11-year-old, who visits relatives in the neighborhood where the metal-laced candy was found, has been referred to the Rowan County Juvenile Court. The child is facing charges of distribution of certain food at Halloween containing foreign objects.

Police said at least two families found needles in their child's candy.

Deputies said the 11-year-old is going through a mental evaluation before the court proceedings begin.

>> Halloween candy tampering claims in Florida false, authorities say

A 12-year-old boy had to go to the hospital on Halloween night after biting into a Snickers candy bar that had a pin in it, his father said.

There was another pin found in a different piece of candy, too, Howard Peacock Jr. told officers. Peacock said he took his children trick-or-treating in the Grace Ridge subdivision.

Sheriff deputies said the candy in question came from the Grace Ridge subdivision, south of Salisbury, where hundreds of children trick-or-treat every year. 

Peacock learned of the news that a child was allegedly the culprit.

A detective showed Peacock a video from an app that was not identified. In that video, it detailed how to tamper with candy bars.

>> 14 Idaho educators suspended for offensive border wall, ‘Mexican’ costumes

"I just freaked out,” Peacock said a week after Halloween. “I just couldn’t believe it, that kids would be able to pull this up and see stuff like that.”

Peacock said he has not heard from the family of the suspect, but he said he understands because they must be going through a difficult time.

He hopes the child gets the help he needs.

"We forgive that boy for doing what he (did), and I hope he gets all the help the good Lord can give him," Peacock said.

On Nov. 1, another parent saw the story about Peacock's child on Facebook.

>> 2 girls suspended for going to school as Columbine High School shooters for Halloween

Realizing their children also trick-or-treated in Grace Ridge, they checked their kids' candy and found a mini Snickers bar with two small metal objects that looked like needles inside.

Peacock said his children started eating the candy when they got home from trick-or-treating. He said he didn’t check the candy because they have trick-or-treated in that neighborhood before, so he didn’t have any reason to be concerned.

The boy had to go to the hospital but was not seriously injured.

“They took a urine test and (did) X-rays, make sure he hadn't swallowed nothing else, another pin or something else lodged,” Peacock said.

The boy’s mouth was a little sore because the pin went behind his two front teeth.

>> Read more trending news 

WSOC-TV spoke with some local families who said they had more than 100 children come to their doors Halloween night. Many said they threw out their Halloween candy.

"I just hope they catch whoever did it. That's the first thing. Somebody needs to be made an example of. This is bad," father Jeff Miller said. 

"It's really terrifying. He's 9 and he was going through the candy before I got a chance to check it, and what if he bit right in and a needle went through his mouth?" mother Tara Casper said. 

Deputies said they identified a suspect over the weekend. They said the investigation indicated the 11-year-old inserted the metal objects into the candy through the wrappers with the intent of it being passed out to trick-or-treaters.


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Rowan County Sheriff's Office

11-year-old charged, accused of putting pins, needles in Halloween candy

Rowan County Sheriff's Office

11-year-old charged, accused of putting pins, needles in Halloween candy

Deputies in Rowan County, North Carolina, said an 11-year-old is facing felony charges after they investigated two separate cases where parents reported finding needles or pins in their children's Halloween candy.

Halloween candy tampering claims in Florida false, authorities say

Florida authorities announced Monday afternoon that complaints about Halloween candy that was tampered with were false

>> Read more trending news 

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office received several complaints about candy that had been tampered with on Halloween night after advising the community to check children’s candy, and investigated those claims. 

During the investigation, CCSO said they learned that all three allegations were false. 

Clay County authorities said they are working with the State Attorney's Office on filing charges against those who made false candy tampering allegations.

>> Related: Nail found in Halloween candy; police warning parents to check kids’ candy

 >> Related: Washington state police investigate pins found in candy

14 Idaho educators suspended for offensive border wall, ‘Mexican’ costumes

A total of 14 faculty and staff members at an Idaho elementary school have been placed on administrative leave after photos of them dressed as a border wall and Mexicans for Halloween brought the school unwanted national attention. 

The Middleton School District and its Heights Elementary School came under fire last week after the photos of the costumes -- which were posted to the district’s Facebook page -- went viral on social media. Middleton Superintendent Josh Middleton announced the suspensions of those involved at a school board meeting called Saturday to address the controversy, the Idaho Statesman reported

A member of the school district’s crisis team has taken over the duties of principal at the elementary school for the time being, Middleton said in a statement posted to the school’s website

The superintendent said that members of the crisis team will be on hand at the school this week, as will security officers. The district will also start providing cultural sensitivity training for all staff members, beginning Wednesday. 

The Middleton Police Department also added extra patrols and a presence at the school to ensure the children remained safe.

The incident has become the source of dueling petitions, including one established on MoveOn.org demanding a proactive approach from the school district. As of Monday afternoon, just over 10,000 had signed the petition.

A Change.org petition seeking to save the jobs of Heights’ principal, teachers and staff, had more than 12,000 signatures by the same time period. The person who established the petition wrote that supporters of the group “believe (the incident has) been blown out of proportion, as this was a team building exercise done after school with no students present or involved.”

Middleton said in Saturday’s statement that the school district “is under a microscope,” but that he views the situation as an opportunity for employees to learn and grow. 

“The events of this week, we take very seriously,” Middleton said. “As hard as these events are for ALL involved, we must learn from this and be better as an entire staff for our students, parents and the community we represent.”

The superintendent’s statement echoed the sentiments he expressed Friday, when he apologized in a short video posted to the school district’s Facebook page. The Facebook page has since been made unavailable to the public. 

>> Related story: Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans

It was on that same page that the public first glimpsed the photos, which were later deleted but had already been copied and circulated on social media. In one photo, six employees are dressed as pieces of a cardboard wall painted to resemble bricks. 

“Make America Great Again” is spelled out in red, white and blue letters, and one woman has a crown and torch as the Statue of Liberty. Another waves an American flag and a third wears a patriotic-themed hat. 

In a second photo, several employees are dressed in garishly colorful ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches. They pose and shake maracas for the camera.

The photos prompted outrage across the country, as well as within the Idaho community. The ACLU of Idaho on Saturday published a statement condemning the costumes and urging school district officials to use the incident proactively to engage the school community and the larger community of Middleton to “create a welcoming environment where all students can thrive.”

“Regardless of the intent of a teacher’s actions in the classroom, we must focus on and give weight to the impact of such actions on the students who rely on teachers and other school officials for guidance and support throughout their educational experience” the ACLU chapter’s statement said. “School districts, their staff and other agents have obligations under federal law, state law, and district policies to prevent and protect students, staff, and others from discrimination, bullying, intimidation, and harassment.”

Administrators of the Idaho DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Facebook page also posted the photos last week, describing them as “extremely disheartening” and said that all children have the right to a school that celebrates all cultural backgrounds. 

“Imagine how some of the students felt when they walked into their classrooms on Halloween and saw their teachers (people they look up to) dressed like this?” the statement read. “This is NOT funny. This is heartbreaking. Students deserve better.”

Middleton, who called the costumes “clearly insensitive and inappropriate” on Friday, said he was informed of the photos by a concerned parent. 

Along with the school district’s Facebook page, the administration section of Heights Elementary’s website has also been made unavailable, but a popup window contains the statement Middleton released over the weekend, along with one from the school board. 

“This type of behavior has no place in education and certainly is not tolerated here at Middleton School District,” the school board’s statement said. “This situation is being taken very seriously. We are in full support of our superintendent and administrative staff as a full investigation is being conducted and are awaiting the results of the investigation to assure appropriate disciplinary action is taken.

“We care about each of our students, their education, and their safety. This is an unfortunate incident of very poor judgment. Yet it is not indicative of the Middleton School District or our teachers as a whole.”

Teen critically injured during Halloween 'pumpkin chucking' event

A 16-year-old Georgia boy was critically injured during a "pumpkin chucking" event at a Hall County church on Halloween.

>> Watch the news report here

WSB-TV's Tyisha Fernandes was at the Corner Stone Assembly of God Church in Gainesville, where the teen was hurt.

Family members identified the teen as Jacob Stevens. He was attending a youth group event called "Trunks of Treats" at the family church when the accident happened.

>> Trick-or-treater stuck with needle while biting into candy

Stevens was using a pumpkin launcher when the device backfired and hit him in the chest, stopping his heart. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Fernandes talked to the Stevens family outside a Gainesville hospital Friday. Michael Stevens, Jacob's father, said they are hoping that Jacob will pull through. 

>> Police warn parents after needle found in child’s candy

"(We are) getting a response out of him," Stevens said. "He gave us a thumbs-up, and we know things are going to be fine."

Dozens of kids were using the pumpkin launcher, which resembles a slingshot, at the Gainesville church on Wednesday.

Somehow, when Jacob was launching his pumpkin, the device fired backward. 

One of his youth leaders leaped into action and performed CPR as they waited for an ambulance to arrive. 

>> Teen, 5-year-old brother caught in crossfire of Halloween night shootout

Jacob's brother, Trevor, said that's what saved the teen's life. 

"Preston Fowler, the guy that initially started doing CPR on him, you know, if it wasn’t for him, my brother wouldn’t be here right now," he said. 

Michael Stevens said his son is making progress and knows his family is by his side. 

>> Read more trending news 

"He looked at us and tried to raise up and they told him, 'Just stay still,'" Michael Stevens said. "I got him by the hand and said, 'This was a freak accident. You didn’t do anything wrong. No one did anything wrong.' And I just told him I loved him and to just concentrate on getting better."

Michael Stevens said being at the hospital brings back bad memories of another medical scare they had with their older son, a leukemia survivor.

"His brother went through a battle with leukemia when he was little, so this brought back a lot of memories seeing him in there like that," Michael Stevens said. 

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with Jacob's medical expenses.

  Florida woman charged with child neglect after son, 6, found trick-or-treating alone
  Man accused of assaulting 6-year-old trick-or-treater, police say
  Hurricane doesn’t hinder Halloween for these Florida trick-or-treaters
  2 girls suspended for going to school as Columbine High School shooters for Halloween
  Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans
  Family uncovers bones in basement believed to be father who disappeared nearly 60 years ago
  Trick-or-treater stuck with needle while biting into candy
  Washington state police investigate pins found in Halloween candy 
  Florida man, 5-year-old daughter killed in pedestrian crash while trick-or-treating
  Girl enamored by Michelle Obama's portrait dresses as her for Halloween
 

Florida woman charged with child neglect after son, 6, found trick-or-treating alone

A Maitland, Florida, woman was arrested after her 6-year-old son was found trick-or-treating alone Halloween night, the Maitland Police Department said.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators said the boy was found at about 8:30 p.m. about a half-mile away from his home. They said he told residents he had been trick-or-treating for several hours.

Residents said the boy, who was dressed as an astronaut, seemed dehydrated, asked for a drink of water and chugged a bottle of water, an arrest report said.

A woman who asked to not be identified said she met the boy while she took her children trick-or-treating.

"He was in fact alone, and he asked that we help him find his parents," she said. "It was definitely concerning to me. It was dark. He was pretty far from home."

The boy's mother, Jessica King, was arrested on charges of child neglect. She was released from jail after paying bail.

WFTV visited her home Friday evening, but no one answered the door.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating the incident.

Man accused of assaulting 6-year-old trick-or-treater, police say

Police in Walpole are investigating after a man allegedly assaulted a 6-year-old boy after the boy knocked on his door while trick-or-treating Halloween.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the police report, the child's mother said her son walked up to a home to ask for some candy. Shortly after, the mother says her son came back screaming and crying, saying the man had tried to beat him up.

The child told police the man pushed him, knocked off his hat, pulled his hair and pinched him. The boy also said the man called him a spoiled brat and that he repeatedly said he was going to beat him up.

The boy's father then went over to speak with the homeowner and said he was met with extreme hostility. 

Police say they spoke with Richard Lawlor, 73, the homeowner, who was standing on his front porch.

According to Lawlor, the child had tried to run into his house because he didn't like the candy he got and Lawlor's response was to push him away from his door. 

While Lawlor wouldn't speak with Boston 25 News on camera, he said the boy was “an unruly child and I did something I wasn’t supposed to do." "He tried to get in my house and I wouldn’t let him in. Twice I blocked him, and the third time I grabbed hold of his sweatshirt,” Lawlor said.

Lawlor denied knocking off the boy's hat and pinching him. 

Police said Lawlor was fidgeting and he had a handgun in his belt, loaded with six bullets. He reportedly smelled of alcohol and admitted to drinking two glasses of wine earlier in the day.

In an odd turn of events, shortly after they arrested Lawlor, police said his wife crashed her car through some bushes on Gill Street and nearly smashed into a house.

After a brief investigation, police arrested Lawlor's wife for operating under the influence.

Lawlor was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and assault and battery. He also consented to a breath test and had his license to carry a gun suspended.

Hurricane doesn’t hinder Halloween for these Florida trick-or-treaters

Piles of debris line the streets. The destructive force of Hurricane Michael is still evident. 

>> Read more trending news 

But, it was not going to keep children from collecting candy on Halloween.

Heather D’Agostino Piddington rallied the community to celebrate Wednesday. 

"The military made us evacuate and we just got back Sunday," Piddington, a teacher whose husband is in the Air Force and stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, told CBS News. "While being away in Alabama in a hotel, I reached out to my neighbors via our neighborhood Facebook page to see who was around and interested in still doing Halloween.” 

Many looked forward to the semblance of normalcy. 

Piddington took her children trick-or-treating around 5:30 p.m., and was surprised at the turnout. 

Neighbors sat on their driveways to make it easier to be seen by children walking with their parents. Others even decorated their houses. 

“Thanks to our amazing neighbors who helped to pull this off,” Piddington wrote on social media with an apocalyptic-looking photo of one of her daughters trick-or-treating. “Her and her sister had a great time and got lots of candy.”

2 girls suspended for going to school as Columbine High School shooters for Halloween

Two Kentucky high school students have been suspended after going to school Wednesday dressed as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine High School students who killed 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999. 

WHAS in Louisville reported that the unnamed girls, who are students at Adair County High School, posted photos to Instagram of them dressed in outfits similar to what Harris, 18, and Klebold, 17, wore during the April 20, 1999, massacre at their high school in Littleton, Colorado. One girl dressed all in black like Klebold and the other wore black suspenders and a white shirt, similar to what Harris wore under his trenchcoat the morning of the mass shooting. 

One photo obtained by the news station shows the girls lying motionless on the floor of what appears to be the school library. The Columbine library is where Harris and Klebold killed 10 of their victims and injured a dozen more before turning their guns on themselves.

>> Related story: Kentucky man regrets dressing his son in Hitler costume for Halloween

Another photo shows the girl in suspenders, who had fake blood on her shirt, sitting in a car. The caption underneath the image reads, “Bang bang, brother.”

Pamela Stephens, superintendent of Adair County Schools, announced the girls’ suspension in a statement, WHAS reported

“We take the situation very seriously, and our personnel are continuing to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter,” Stephens said. 

The length of the girls’ suspension was unknown. 

>> Related story: Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans

Some parents were angry that the costumes garnered only a suspension. One mother, Amy Tarter, told WHAS that the punishment was “ridiculous.”

“I think any child that does that should be expelled, and any parents who (support) their child (doing that) should have charges brought against them,” Tarter told the news station. “You worry every day about sending your kid to school, and now you have people joking about it.”

The girls’ Halloween costumes are not the only ones stoking ire this year. A man in Owensboro, Kentucky, found himself apologizing after dressing his 5-year-old son as Adolf Hitler last month for a city event. The man, Bryant Goldbach, dressed as a Nazi officer. 

A nurse in Missouri lost her job earlier this week for dressing in blackface as Beyonce -- with her husband dressed in blackface as Jay-Z -- and a man in Picayune, Mississippi, was kicked out of a bar Saturday for showing up for a costume contest in a Ku Klux Klan robe

>> Read more trending news

The Columbine school shooting, which also left 21 students and teachers wounded, was the worst in U.S. history when it occurred in 1999. It has since been eclipsed by multiple school shootings, most recently the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day. Former student Nikolas Cruz, who is awaiting trial, killed 17 people and injured 17 more before fleeing the campus and being caught by police. 

A total of 14 people were killed at the University of Texas in Austin on Aug. 1, 1966, when student and former U.S. Marine Charles Whitman began shooting from the campus’ iconic clock tower. More than 30 people were also injured before Whitman, who killed his wife and mother the night before, was shot and killed by police officers. 

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, is the second-worst in U.S. history, with gunman Adam Lanza leaving 26 children and teachers dead before killing himself. Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, before going to the school in Newtown, Connecticut. 

The worst school shooting in America was the April 16, 2007, shooting at Virginia Tech, which killed 32 people and injured about 30 more. The gunman, student Seung-Hui Cho, fatally shot himself when he was done. 

The worst school massacre in American history was not a shooting, but an explosion that killed 44 people -- 38 of them children -- at the Bath Consolidated School in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927. The perpetrator, school board member Andrew Kehoe, killed his wife, Nellie, at their farm prior to setting the explosives at the school.

In the aftermath of the explosion, Kehoe detonated explosives he had in his truck, killing himself, the school superintendent and several other people. 

  Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans
  Missouri nurse loses job for wearing blackface Beyonce costume
  Man shows up at Halloween party in KKK robe, hood
  Kentucky man regrets dressing son in Hitler costume for Halloween

Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans

“We are better than this.”

Those are the words of an Idaho school superintendent who has offered his “sincerest and deepest apologies” after teachers at one of his district’s elementary schools dressed as a border wall and Mexicans for Halloween -- and posted the photos on the district’s Facebook page. 

Josh Middleton, superintendent of the Middleton School District, spoke out Friday after the now-deleted photos of Heights Elementary School staff members sparked outrage and controversy. 

“I was shown those photos and (was) deeply troubled by the decision by our staff members to wear those costumes that are clearly insensitive and inappropriate,” Middleton said in a video statement posted to Facebook

In one of the photos, which were copied and circulated on social media before their deletion, six employees are dressed as pieces of a cardboard wall painted to resemble bricks. “Make America Great Again” is spelled out in red, white and blue letters, and one woman has a crown and torch as the Statue of Liberty. Another waves an American flag and a third wears a patriotic-themed hat. 

In a second photo, several employees are dressed in garishly colorful ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches. They pose and shake maracas for the camera. 

>> Read more trending news

One Idaho resident who posted the photos to her own Facebook page wrote that she was angry. 

“Hate is everywhere,” Sherry Scheline wrote. “Teachers presenting this is not only in poor taste, it is mortifying. I would find this costume offensive out at the bar. I find it more offensive in the school. No matter where you stand on immigration this is offensive.”

Tagging the school district in her post, she said officials should be ashamed of themselves. 

Administrators of the Idaho DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Facebook page also posted the photos, describing them as “extremely disheartening” and said that all children have the right to a school that celebrates all cultural backgrounds. 

“Imagine how some of the students felt when they walked into their classrooms on Halloween and saw their teachers (people they look up to) dressed like this?” the statement read. “This is NOT funny. This is heartbreaking. Students deserve better.”

Middleton said district officials’ time is being devoted to investigating the incident and the “poor decisions” made by the faculty and staff members involved. 

“I want to say, we are better than this,” Middleton said. “We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students, period.”

Middleton said he first heard about the costumes from a concerned parent Thursday night. 

“Do I think that there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t,” Middleton said. “Was there poor judgment involved? Absolutely. And we now have to own those decisions.”

The Middleton School District has six schools in the city of Middleton, which is about 40 miles west of Boise. According to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, there were just over 7,400 residents last year. 

About 9.5 percent of those residents are Hispanic or Latino, the data shows. The estimates also show fewer than 2 percent of the population is Asian or American Indian, and none are black. 

About 86 percent of the population is white. 

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