Man pleads guilty in assault on LHS assistant principal

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Sentence requires man to get anger-management counseling

By Jesef Williams

The Lancaster man accused of assaulting Lancaster High School Assistant Principal Bill Farrar in August has been sentenced.
Rodney Thompson, 44, 2751 Pineview Drive, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and battery Monday afternoon in general sessions court.  
Sixth Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield said Thompson was given a three-year prison sentence, suspended to two years probation.
During those two years, Thompson:
• Must complete 100 hours of community service
• Cannot have physical, telephonic or electronic contact with Farrar
• Cannot appear on Lancaster High’s campus or attend LHS-sponsored events unless he receives a written invitation from the school’s principal
• Must attend anger-management counseling
“We concluded that was the best way to handle the matter,” Barfield said about the plea agreement.
The assault
In August, the Lancaster Police Department charged Thompson with assault and battery after Farrar said Thompson punched him multiple times in the face during an open house at the school.
Thompson’s three sons, all Lancaster High students, were involved in a fight earlier that day that led to the suspension of the three siblings and a fourth student.
Later in the day, Thompson, Thompson’s wife and their three sons approached Farrar, asking to speak with him in his office about the fight.
As Farrar opened his office door, Thompson punched him three or four times in the face, according to police reports.
Farrar needed three or four stitches to stop the bleeding from a wound that resulted from the assault.
School district’s involvement
Shortly after the assault, Lancaster County School District Superintendent Dr. Gene Moore and board chairman Bobby Parker called the incident inexcusable and said school officials would work to ensure these type of assaults are not repeated.
On Tuesday, the school board voted unanimously to allow district personnel to send a request to the S.C. School Board Association for support of law changes that will affect school personnel.
The letter, signed by Moore and all school board members, said there is a “serious inconsistency” between laws regarding threats and laws regarding attacks against school officials.
District officials plan to speak with state legislators about the laws.
“It seems obvious to us that the laws are inconsistent and that the assault law needs to be strengthened to protect school employees while they are acting in their official capacity,” the letter reads. “Currently, there are no enhanced laws that discourage assaults against school employees by parents, school visitors, or other adults or former students.”
Barfield said he supports the district’s efforts.
“There’s always a need to look at what’s on the books, events involving non-students,” he said.  

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152