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Pencil attacks, alcohol use probed at schools in city



Published: Sat, May 8, 2010 @ 12:08 a.m.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

jgoodwin@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Student injuries and alcohol abuse have officials at three schools investigating — and parents upset.

Dawn Williams, 34, of Evanston Street, is still trying to understand how her 11-year-old daughter could be stabbed in the back twice with a pencil by another student Wednesday while on the playground at William Holmes McGuffey Elementary School. The girl was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center for treatment of puncture wounds.

Williams said her daughter and her daughter’s friends have been picked on by a fellow male student for a long time. Her daughter, she said, loaned the boy a pencil in school Wednesday and during recess the boy ran up from behind and stabbed her with it in the back, twice.

Williams said her daughter has seen the boy in school since the incident and is afraid.

“She doesn’t want to go to school because she is afraid what this boy will do to her if he can get away with stabbing her,” said Williams.

Rachael Smith, school principal, said the school is addressing the issue.

“We immediately talked to the boy and girl to get all the details and sent the girl to the nurse. We have followed our disciplinary procedures. We have progressive discipline here where punishment gets progressively worse for someone who may be a repeat offender,” said Smith.

Smith would not say what punishment was given to the boy, but she did say the boy is no longer in class with Williams’ daughter and has been isolated from other students.

A student at Paul C. Bunn Elementary School was repeatedly hit with pencils and is now recovering at St. Elizabeth Health Center. The 10-year-old boy’s injuries were exacerbated by a blood condition where excessive bleeding can occur.

Kimberly Fox said her son Paul has been in the hospital since Thursday and will likely remain hospitalized through the weekend. She said two boys, in an act of horseplay, repeatedly hit her son with pencils causing bruising along his arms.

“I think you should be able to send your kids to school and not have to worry,” she said. “I have never seen anything like this before in my life.”

Fox said she is also upset with the cavalier attitude taken by some school officials after the incident. John Allen, ombudsman for city schools, would not say what punishment was given to the two students involved, but did say the students were addressed according to disciplinary guidelines.

Allen said it is believed that all three boys were engaged in horseplay and the victim offered his arm as an experiment to see how long it would take to feel pain from the hits.

“Obviously we are concerned about every student. The situation ended up being horseplay. The victim does have a serious condition and the classmates were not aware of that,” he said. “The safety of all of our students is always highest priority.”

School officials at Stambaugh Charter Academy are investigating four students, ages 10 and 11, for drinking alcohol in school Thursday. A lunch attendant caught them drinking from a clear plastic bottle that smelled like an alcoholic beverage.

Three of the students told officials they only took a sip of the beverage not knowing it was alcohol. Police determined who brought the beverage to school. All of the students’ guardians were notified.


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