Student faces battery charge

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Police are charging a Cloverdale Middle School student with battery after they say she beat a classmate over the head with a lunch tray Tuesday.

Cloverdale Assistant Police Chief Tim Walker told the BannerGraphic a fight broke out between the two eighth-grade girls when several weeks of name-calling came to a climax shortly after 1 p.m., at the end of their lunch hour.

"The suspect had had enough, and she followed her up to the lunch line, hit her over the head four or five times, then broke the tray over her head," Walker said.

The two then fell to the floor in a scuffle, which was broken up by teachers, he said.

The 15-year-old girl who police say initiated the physical fight was held at the school until her parents arrived.

The other student, a 16-year-old, was taken to Putnam County Hospital via Operation Life ambulance.

"She had a big bump on her head and was vomiting," Walker said of the student who had allegedly been beaten over the head.

"They are pretty big, hard plastic trays," he added.

Cloverdale Middle School Principal Jeff Brookshire told the BannerGraphic that the girl was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

"I stayed with her for a couple of hours at the hospital until her parents came," he said. "As far as I knew, any tests that were done while I was there were fine."

As for the 15-year-old, "She has been released back to her parents, and I believe will be expelled from school," Walker said.

In addition to the battery charge, the officer said he also thought the teen would probably be referred to the GRASP school suspension program as well.

Although the altercation stemmed from name-calling, Walker said he didn't feel it was a case of bullying.

"This has been an ongoing dispute between the girls," he said.

Brookshire said in order for an incident to fall under bullying laws, it would have to be one in a series of incidents initiated by the same person.

"This doesn't make the infraction any less though," Brookshire said.

He added, these kinds of incidents are rare at the school which he described as safe and quiet.

"At the beginning of the year, we had several incidents of disobedience, but since then, (the administration) has worked together and worked with the kids, and now things like that are very few and far between," he said.

The principal also attributed the supervision of teachers and the help of cafeteria staff to halting the fight.

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