Thursday, December 18, 2014

TOP STORY >> Felony charges in school fight

Two Cabot Freshman Academy special-education students were charged with felony second-degree battery and disorderly conduct after a fight between them in a classroom turned against teachers and administrators on Tuesday.

Police were called at 1 p.m. to Jennifer Bryant’s special-education classroom for a fight in progress. School teachers, principals and paraprofessionals were attempting to restrain a 14-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy.

The officer reported that the classroom was in disarray. Several chairs were flipped and thrown. A table was turned over. A Christmas tree was thrown and damaged. The floor was littered with books, papers, folders and school supplies.

Student 1 was restrained. Student 2 was resisting the officer’s attempt to restrain him. Student 2 wanted to attack Student 1 and yelled, “Let me just stab him one more time.”

The officer forced Student 2 to the ground and held him there while trying to calm him. Student 2 was allowed to stand up, but tried to break away and attack Student 1.

The officer grabbed Student 2’s left wrist and forced the front of his body to the wall. The officer put his arm around the front of Student 2’s chest. Student 2 screamed, “Just choke me.”

Then the officer heard a loud commotion behind him. Someone screamed that Student 1 was hitting assistant principal Ahna Davis.

The officer let go of Student 2 and went to Student 1. Student 1 had hit Davis’ face twice with his fist, grabbed her hair and forced her to the floor, according to the report.

The officer forced Student 1 to the ground. Student 1 resisted the officer’s attempts to restrain him and dug his fingernails into the officer’s forearm. The officer laid on him to keep Student 1 down.

Student 1 began to calm down and asked for his mom. Student 1 was handcuffed and walked to the nurse’s office. He apologized for hitting Davis.

Student 1 had a bloody mouth from the fight with Student 2.

While the officer was restraining Student 1, Student 2 ran out of the classroom, off campus and was caught by police on the railroad tracks behind the school. Police took control of Student 2 and forced him to the ground to restrain him.

Both students were arrested and taken to the police department.

After the incident, the special-education teacher, told police both students were in her behavior lab class for emotional and psychological issues.

Bryant said she took a Chromebook from one of the students for viewing inappropriate websites. The student said he didn’t like the school and didn’t know why the teachers were so overprotective.

He began to argue with Bryant about his behavior reports from the previous day. Then the student said to a second student, “I’m not going to sit next to an (expletive).”

Bryant, special-education paraprofessionals Angela Fortson and Billi Douglas separated the students, but one of them succeeded in attacking the other student. The ensuing fight took the students to the floor.

Teachers removed the other students from the room. One of the fighting students began to destroy it.

Special-education paraprofessionals Kim Duncan and Cristina Torres tried to help.

One of the fighting students shoved Torres into a wall-mounted pencil sharpener.

He picked up a chair and threw it at Bryant. Torres was able to catch the chair. Duncan said the student pushed her into a wall, punched her in the face, knocked her glasses off and punched her in the back.

Counselor Angie Simon, assistant principals Kevin Floyd and Charlie Donham, and special-education teacher Lindsay Kane responded to the fight and witnessed parts of the incident.

School nurse Susan Covington arrived to assess the injuries on Student 1, who was hit by Student 2. Student 1 shoved Covington backward onto the table and chairs, causing her head to whiplash. No other injuries were reported.

All of the students’ actions are alleged in a report of the incident.