Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Freshman with knife faces weapons charges

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A Clarksburg High School freshman faces charges in connection to a knife incident in the school cafeteria last week.

The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office has charged the female student as a juvenile with one count of possession of a deadly weapon on school property and one count of possession of a deadly weapon with intent to cause injury, said Cpl. Jimmy Robinson, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Police.

Both are misdemeanors, Officer Melanie Hadley, a county police spokeswoman, said.

Seth Zucker, spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s Office, said he could not confirm or comment on the charges because the student is a juvenile.

The student is not being named in this story because she is being charged as a juvenile.

At 11:20 a.m. Friday, a student reported seeing the girl holding a knife, Principal James Koutsos said Tuesday.

The knife was in her hand when a nearby administrator and security team members intervened, Koutsos said.

He said he was not aware of a specific threat that was made before the knife was spotted.

‘‘The main thing we want to articulate is fortunately we had adults present at the time and they were able to stop any attempt this child may have made to harm another child,” Koutsos said. ‘‘We were fortunate we were able to do that.”

The police were contacted and arrived at the school within 15 minutes, Hadley said.

Koutsos sent two letters to parents on the school listserv about the incident. Monday’s letter said that under county guidelines, a student found in possession of a weapon or intoxicants on school property must serve a 10-day suspension and be recommended for expulsion.

The student began serving the 10-day suspension Monday, the principal said.

Terry Strauss, president of the Clarksburg High School PTSA, said the principal handled the situation well.

‘‘Clarksburg is a safe school and we haven’t had a serious incident in the two years I’ve been here,” he said. ‘‘I am surprised that it happened.”

Koutsos said he spoke with the parents of the student. He did not know whether the student would be expelled.

Koutsos said he does not plan to change any school policies as a result of the incident.

‘‘We feel comfortable with the policies that we currently have in place to address situations such as these and others we have encountered at the school,” he said.