Four girls arrested in connection with beating of Grainger County student

RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) --Four teenage girls were arrested and charged in the brutal beating of a Washburn High School student in Grainger County.

Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel tells Local 8 News one girl was charged with Aggravated Assault, three were charged with Assault. All four are in the Knox County Juvenile Detention Center. No court date has been set yet.

Director of Grainger County Schools Edwin Jarnigan said his district is cooperating fully with an investigation into how a student was injured at Washburn High School on Monday.

The district declined any further comment stating it wanted to "protect the confidentiality of any students involved."

Jarnigan referred all questions about the legal investigation to the Grainger Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Amanda Dunn, a senior at Washburn School, said it all started around noon on Monday, in front of the school.

She said three girls were mad because they thought 15-year-old Shayla Luke started rumors about them, so they ganged up on her.

"Two of the girls were holding her, keeping her from getting away - blocking her in. And one of the other girls was the one actually hitting her head against the pole and punching her in the face and had her down on the ground. And she had rings - a bunch of rings on her hand and she was hitting her in the face over and over again," said Dunn.

Dunn said Shayla is a foster child and is in her first semester at the school.

"She was a new kid and she was an easy target," said Dunn.

A target for bullying. She said people watched - doing nothing - for at least five minutes before a teacher broke it up and she was flown to UT Medical Center.

"Broken bones in her face and blood behind her eyes - just all messed up," said Dunn.

And she adds Shayla might have vision problems for the rest of her life. It's something that has everyone scared.

"It could have been any one of my children. And I feel for the mother of this little girl - the foster mother. I can only imagine what she's going through," said Angela Dawson, Dunn's mom.

Dunn has started a Facebook page called, "Live and Let Live" to spread awareness and support Shayla. Shayla's foster mom posted on the site: "All I can say is she has suffered pain that nobody especially a child should have to endure."

Dunn is organizing a candlelight vigil for Shayla on November 3 at the Clinch Mountain Lookout. She said Ink Dreams Tattoo in Morristown will hold a benefit on November 10th, where tattoos will cost $25 and $20 will go towards Shayla and her foster family.

The Grainger County Sheriff's Office is investigating. The school system said when the investigation is complete, it will administer to any and all offending parties appropriate disciplinary action.

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