Baltimore's school superintendent asked principals for help yesterday in halting "senseless attacks" on students in the wake of the jacket robbery and gang beating of a 17-year-old on his way home Tuesday afternoon.
Venable High School student Reginald Dwayne Starks was listed in serious condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and three suspects were in custody.
The attack left relatives puzzled.
"He isn't the kind to go and start trouble," said John C. Rhames, a cousin. "I was shocked when I heard that something like that happened."
City school officials, meanwhile, reported arrests in two unrelated incidents -- one involving a gun, the other a fight:
* A ninth-grader at Walbrook Senior High was arrested about 1:15 p.m. after a teacher saw him place a bag with an unloaded 9mm handgun beneath the wheels of a car parked on a street near the school, said Larry Burgan, chief of security for the city schools. Officials said they will move to expel the youth.
It was the fourth gun incident since the start of the school year, including two cases in which youths accidentally shot themselves while sitting in class.
* The other trouble reported yesterday was an end-of-day fight among four girls at Hampstead Hill Middle School in the 100 block of South Ellwood Avenue. Mr. Burgan said none of the girls was hurt, but all were arrested and charged as juveniles with disruptive behavior.
The attack on Reginald Starks occurred about 3 p.m. Tuesday as he walked toward Old York Road from Venable, a high school for children with learning disorders in the 700 block of East 34th Street near Memorial Stadium.
Reginald, who has lived with his grandmother in the 900 block of North Chester Street since his mother died four months ago, was knocked to the ground, beaten, kicked and robbed of his Los Angeles Raiders jacket by three other youths, authorities said. The victim was in serious but stable condition at the trauma center last night.
Arrested were Lamont Rogers, 18, of the 2300 block of Guilford Avenue, charged with assault and theft; and two 17-year-olds -- one a classmate of Reginald -- charged as juveniles with assault and remanded to the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County.
Officials said Reginald and his classmate had argued Monday about some spilled paint.
Venable's principal, Wynola W. Cunningham, said the attack was "one of those unfortunate incidents," and that the accused classmate "used poor judgment in settling the argument." She said both students have done well at the school and posed no disciplinary problems.
In his letter to school principals, Superintendent Walter G. Amprey cited recent incidents of violence involving students both on and off school property in saying that "we must do everything possible to create an environment for their safety.
"I am asking for your help in developing creative ways to address this problem," Dr. Amprey said. "Perhaps you could solicit the help of your parent organization, community and staff to brainstorm and develop ideas to stop these senseless assaults on our youngsters."