Stabbed student's family questions school response

September 15, 1992|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

The parents of a 15-year-old youth stabbed last week at Catonsville High School are asking why school officials didn't call an ambulance and didn't immediately notify police of the incident.

But school officials defended their actions, saying they were prudent in waiting for the boy's parents to take him to the hospital -- rather than sending him by ambulance -- and in delaying calling police until the suspect's mother got to school.

"I feel as though they were too laid back for me. That was someone's son and it was mine," said Yvonne Taylor, whose son, Chad, was stabbed as he was leaving school last Wednesday.

The suspect -- a girl described as a special education student with emotional problems who was upset over being teased on a school bus that morning -- allegedly took an 8-inch knife from a home economics classroom and attacked Chad Taylor as they were leaving school, said Donald Mohler, the school principal.

The wound required eight stitches and could result in nerve damage, according to Bill Bacon, an attorney for the Taylors.

The girl has been charged as an adult with attempted murder and possession of a deadly weapon, said Sgt. Stephen Doarnberger, spokesman for Baltimore County police.

The Taylor youth has not returned to school. "He can go back to school, but he's just not ready as far as how he's feeling," said Mrs. Taylor.

Police, school officials and Mr. Bacon gave this account of the incident:

On the morning of the stabbing, other students on the bus teased the girl repeatedly -- which was not uncommon. Many of the youngsters laughed when one student made a remark. Chad Taylor was among those who laughed, but was not the student who made the remark.

That afternoon, as the Taylor youth got ready to board the bus, the girl approached him and, without saying anything, plunged the knife into his left shoulder.

The Taylor youth was taken to the school nurse, Carol Crawford, who cleaned the cut, put a compress on it and wrapped it with gauze. She called the boy's mother, a teacher's assistant at Sharp-Leadenhall School in Baltimore, and his father, Lawrence, who went to the school and took him to St. Agnes Hospital for treatment.

Ms. Crawford told Mrs. Taylor and Mr. Mohler, the principal, that it wasn't necessary to call an ambulance and that the cut was not as bad as it appeared, though it would require stitches. She said it would be less traumatic for the boy if his parents took him to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the girl went to the school office with the knife and told assistant principal Carol Twilley that she did "a terrible thing," Mr. Mohler said.

Ms. Twilley, who has been at Catonsville for 15 years, took the knife from the girl and told the principal she would like the girl's mother to be present before police arrived. The principal, new to the school this year, agreed.

"We are fully aware of the county's policies regarding drugs and weapons," said Mr. Mohler. "I would staunchly defend the assistant principal who said the girl needed her mom. It seemed the prudent thing to do."

When the Taylor boy arrived at St. Agnes, hospital officials called county police, who came to the hospital to investigate. Police subsequently went to the high school to question officials and the girl, who was arrested and later released into the custody of her mother.

The Taylors say school officials should have called police.

Mr. Bacon said the Taylors "want some assurance that he [their son] can go back into school safely. They would like some sort of counseling for the boy. He's just upset."

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