Two JM Bennett Seniors Sentenced after November Fight


Two seniors at James M. Bennett High School have been sentenced to 10 days incarceration for one count each of disturbing school activities. Monia Spence and Ty’mearra Purnell, both 18 and of Salisbury pleaded guilty to the charge. A third student Kemiya Johnson, also 18 and from Salisbury – also pleaded guilty to the same charge, however Judge David Martz struck the guilty finding and entered probation for judgement.

Spence and Purnell were among a group of 12 female students involved in a fight at James M. Bennett High School on November 18, 2019. During the fight, mace was discharged into the hallway. Several students and one Wicomico County Board of Ed employee were affected. Spence, Purnell, Johnson and one additional participant were adults and charged as so – the majority of the other fight participants were juveniles.

Statement from Wicomico County District Superintendent Dr. Donna Hanlin:

“While our school staff and administrators would always prefer to prevent and intervene in response to student disciplinary matters, we also believe that strong accountability measures must be employed when our students are not responding to intervention strategies.  The school system’s response with disciplinary measures is now being reinforced and strengthened through the collaborative efforts of all partners on the Youth Safety Task Force.
We appreciate that cooperation and are hoping today’s announcement lets students, parents and our staff know that chronic disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Wicomico County Public Schools is filled with outstanding students and staff who are accomplishing great things each day, and we will continue to work to ensure they have the safest environment in which to thrive and learn.”