Vineland NJ school security officers injured www.privateofficer.com
VINELAND NJ October 5 2011 — The school year is off to a tumultuous start at Vineland High School where two security guards were attacked on Monday and five students were arrested, making for a total of 17 arrests since the academic year began.
One security guard was sent to the hospital as a result of three separate incidents. The first two were fights between students in which a security guard became involved, while during the last a student directly assaulted a security guard.
“I was an assistant principal for 11 years before this, and it happens. We have almost 3,000 students” said Principal Thomas McCann, who is in his sixth year of overseeing the high school’s north and south campuses.
Vineland police said the juvenile unit was first dispatched to the north campus of the East Chestnut Avenue school at 7:24 a.m.
Two male students aged 14 and 15 were involved in a physical fight in the cafeteria. A security guard attempted to break them up and police said, “…both students turned their physical assault against the security guard.”
Although the 51-year-old male guard was not injured, police arrested the two boys and charged them with aggravated assault on a school employee and disorderly conduct.
They were then released to their parents or guardians.
Less than three hours later at 9:46 a.m., officers from the juvenile unit were again called to the upstairs north wing of the north campus for a fight involving two females, also aged 14 and 15.
The same security guard attempted to intervene in this fight at which point the 14-year-old knocked him to the ground, causing the guard to strike his head on the concrete floor.
Both of the girls were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, and the 14-year-old was additionally charged with aggravated assault on a school employee.
A Vineland EMS ambulance took the guard to the South Jersey Healthcare-Regional Medical Center where he was kept overnight for observations because of his head injury.
Lt. Matt Finley said the guard was still in the hospital Tuesday morning.
Once being charged the girls were also released to their parents or guardians.
About two-and-a-quarter hours later at 12:05 p.m., the juvenile unit was once again dispatched to the north campus cafeteria for a report of an assault on a security guard.
A guard in the cafeteria stopped a 16-year-old boy from entering without a pass. Not pleased with his decision, police said the boy attacked the guard, knocking him to the ground where he started to physically assault him.
The boy was restrained, then arrested and charged for aggravated assault on a school employee.
The guard escaped any serious injury and did not require treatment by Vineland EMS.
Finley said the 16-year-old was lodged in the Cumberland County Juvenile Detention Center rather than turned over to a parent or guardian because of the manner in which he attacked the guard.
“The other kids were already involved in fights and ended up making contact with the guards. This was a separate incident in which he directly attacked the guard,” said Finley.
Principal McCann said he was in the south campus building when all three fights broke out.
“The assistant principals Melanie Beck and Hope Johnson dealt with it,” he said, adding,
“We have a zero tolerance policy here for assaulting employees, so the students each got a 10-day suspension.”
He said the school will hold administrative hearings on the children.
“I don’t know what it was related to but normally it’s boyfriend, girlfriend stuff,” he said.
So far police have made 17 arrests at the high school since class started Sept. 6, including three for possession of weapons, although Finley said none of the weapons were guns.
In addition to the two security guards attacked Monday, one other was also attacked so far this year.
Finley said the actions of this crop of students seemed particularly troubling.
“Its getting worse with each year,” he said.