Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:31 PM on Wednesday, November 16, 2011

HHS student allegedly assaults official


A Homer High School student allegedly assaulted a school official last week. Homer Police at about 10:20 a.m. Nov. 8 went to the high school after the official reported being shoved up against lockers by a boy. No one was injured in the incident, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl.

The official had contacted the boy in the hallway and asked him why he wasn't in class. The boy became angry and using his hands shoved the official against hallway lockers. The official got away from the boy, told him to come to the office and called police. The boy cooperated after the alleged assault, Robl said.

Police detained the boy and took him to the police station on Heath Street next to the school. The boy was held under police supervision in a secure room, but not in a jail cell, until his parents arrived. He was released to his parents, Robl said.

Citing Kenai Peninsula Borough School District policy, Homer High School Assistant Principal Douglas Waclawski said he could not comment on the incident. Robl said he could not identify the boy or the school official.

Robl did say the boy was under age 18. Police have referred the incident to the Office of Juvenile Justice. Robl said the school official did not want to press charges. Police also will send a report on the incident to The Center, Homer's community mental health facility. Robl said that the boy will be suspended from school.

"Their primary goal is to get the student into some anger management counseling," Robl said of the school's response.

Superintendent Steve Atwater said assaults on school officials are extremely rare.

"It was a very unfortunate situation," he said. "We're sorry to hear it happened, but we think we dealt with it appropriately."

Not speaking to the specific incident, Atwater said that in cases where students assault another person at school, the first step is to contact parents. Police also would be called. If an assault did occur, a student could receive a suspension for from one to 45 days. Depending on the severity, a student also could be expelled from school. Students also could be referred to mental health counseling.

Waclawski said the general policy for school staff, teachers and officials when assaulted is to get away from the attacker. The law allows staff to defend themselves if attacked. Staff also should protect other students and to try not to hurt the attacker. Staff are asked not to take actions that would endanger themselves.

Atwater said some teachers and staff have special training in how to deal with students who are unruly or could hurt themselves. Waclawski said Homer High School has three such staff members trained in safely restraining unruly students.

The school district tracks all disciplinary incidents and prepares a confidential report to the school board.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.