As they moved to address several recent acts of violence in city middle schools, Baltimore school administrators today had to confront two more cases that sprang up in West Baltimore.
Yesterday, a teacher was attacked by a group of students he was escorting at Booker T. Washington Middle School and a new student was beaten with a nightstick by a non-student at William H. Lemmel Middle. Neither was seriously injured.
Several eighth-graders at the Booker T. Washington Middle School were detained overnight at a youth center in Laurel after they allegedly attacked a teacher while he escorted them to class after they had eaten lunch in the cafeteria.
The male teacher, whose name was not disclosed by city school officials, was slightly injured but refused medical treatment.
Shortly after noon, the teacher was escorting nearly a dozen male eighth-graders back to their classroom at the school, in the 1300 block of McCulloh St., when they became unruly with each other.
The situation, according to a school official, got out of hand and when the teacher tried to restore order he was struck and kicked by at least eight of the students.
A second male teacher came to the other's aid and helped restore order and separate the students.
School system police officers arrived and arrested eight of the students. After school officials notified the students' parents of what occurred, all eight were transported to the Thomas J.S. Waxter Center at Laurel in Anne Arundel County, where they remained overnight, pending a hearing today before juvenile court officials.
City police said that they were not called to the school and that the entire incident appeared to have been handled by members of the school staff and school police.
The assault was the most recent among several incidents that have occurred at Baltimore middle schools. School officials recently announced plans to beef up security after students were injured in several of the incidents.
In the past week, one student was hospitalized after a fight at Lombard Middle School; 13 students were hurt in a stampede at Herring Run Middle School, and the principal of Hampstead Hill Middle School was removed after a day of fights and disruption.
Another incident yesterday occurred about 8:15 a.m., when three non-students confronted a 15-year-old student at Lemmel Middle School, in the 2800 block of N. Dukeland St. The victim had just transferred to the school this week.
"One of the outsiders did have a gun and a policeman's nightstick," said Eldon Thomas, principal of Lemmel. "He hit the boy with the nightstick in the back of the head."
School police, assistant principals and teachers intervened. The attackers ran off, Thomas said.
A teacher licensed in cardiopulmonary resuscitation provided first-aid to the injured student, who received a gash in the back of his head, Thomas said. City paramedics arrived about two hours later, but left without the student, who was sent home about 10:30 a.m. with his grandmother.
Thomas said the fight might have stemmed from an incident that took place off school grounds yesterday, and that the attackers might actually have been seeking someone else at Lemmel.
But Thomas also said that the fight did not disrupt classes throughout the day. Dismissal went smoothly, although city police were on hand as students were leaving school.
Superintendent Walter G. Amprey said the school system is getting ready to focus more on the special concerns of middle schools, with a task force headed by Deputy Superintendent Lillian Gonzalez.
Amprey also is proceeding with a plan that relies heavily on community involvement to stem school-related violence.
Amprey said he is not surprised that the most explosive incidents tend to take place in middle school, which includes students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
"This is the age when they're not really little kids and they're not really adults," he said.