Student Charges Guard Did Nothing When Fight Began

September 19, 1990|By Staff report

A fistfight at a Wilde Lake High School dance Sept. 8 sent one student to the emergency room at Howard County General Hospital and prompted an uninvolved student to charge that the security guard failed to break up the altercation.

The Saturday night dance was one of several incidents at Wilde Lake where security guards have failed to take action, Kevin Peacock, a senior and delegate to the Howard County Association of Student Councils, told the school board last Thursday.

He said the fight at the dance was broken up by an assistant principal.

County police reported that the fight began after a student danced with a girl another student had been dating.

Police spokesman Gary L. Gardner said he could not release the names of the students involved because they are juveniles. He said it would be up to the parents of the injured student to decide whether to file charges.

Patti P. Vierkant, schools spokeswoman, said school officials had determined that three students were involved -- the injured student and two attackers.

James R. McGowan, associate superintendent for instruction and school administration, said school officials would investigate the role security guards played.

However, he said, the school staff has the primary responsibility to maintain order and security guards are to help.

Peacock polled student delegates at an HCASC meeting last Thursday and found a consensus that security guards have not separated combatants.

Wilde Lake principal Bonnie Daniel was reportedly not at school Thursday and Friday and could not be reached for comment on the incident.

Principals at five other high schools reported that they have not received complaints about security guards failing to break up fights.

The high schools have contracts with CES Security Inc. of Randallstown and All-County Security, a service employing off-duty Howard County police officers.

Vierkant said CES was unable to provide security guards requested for the dance. One off-duty police officer and school administrators were at the scene, she said.

A division manager for CES refused to give her name or to comment on why guards were not sent. Police Cpl. Charles Ellenberger, who operates All-County Security, could not be reached for information.

The off-duty police won praise from Howard High principal Eugene L Streagle Jr. and Oakland Mills High principal Sue Ann Tabler.

Both said they use the officers for crowd control and the CES guards for such tasks as watching ticket booths.

Vierkant said no events at Wilde Lake have been canceled because of the incident.

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