Woodlawn student charged in stabbing of peer at school

January 07, 1999|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

A long-running quarrel flared into a stairwell stabbing at Woodlawn High School yesterday before school began, leaving one student with minor injuries and the other facing criminal charges.

Dontae Leroy Douglas Cox, 15, was stabbed several times by another student, police said. Cox was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he was treated for stomach wounds and released.

Jiovan Jamal Purviance, 17, of the 6600 block of Springmill Circle was arrested and charged with assault, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and bringing a deadly weapon to school. Purviance was charged as an adult and held overnight at the Woodlawn Precinct pending a bail review hearing today in District Court, police said.

Baltimore County education officials characterized the stabbing as one of the most serious outbursts of violence at county schools in recent years, although they stressed that it was an isolated incident.

"We consider this very serious," said Woodlawn Principal James H. Wilson. He said whenever a weapon is brought on campus, an automatic penalty of suspension with a recommendation for expulsion is applied.

Wilson said he could not recall asimilar outbreak of violence during his three years as principal of the 1,700-student institution, which is one of the county's largest high schools.

"This is not indicative of 99.5 percent of my students here," he said.

Police said that the stabbing was precipitated by hostility that began earlier this school year when one of the two students involved pushed the other in a hallway. A passing staff member radioed for help after the stabbing, Wilson said.

"I understand it is an isolated incident between two students; it had no effect whatsoever on the other students at the school," said Kathleen Bidlack, a cafeteria worker who is also the school's PTA president.

"This is an excellent, excellent school," Bidlack said. Her daughter graduated from Woodlawn last year, she said, and her son is a junior there. "If I thought they were in danger, I wouldn't have my children there," she said.

Wilson said the stabbing, which occurred at 7: 48 a.m., did not disrupt the rest of the school day. Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione issued a statement yesterday, saying:

"Baltimore County's public schools have always enjoyed a reputation as being safe and inviting places to learn. Unfortunately, we must recognize that Baltimore County's public schools are not immune from many of the problems that plague our neighborhoods. And it is precisely because of unfortunate incidents such as this one that we embarked last year on an ambitious and proactive series of recommendations from our Acts and Threats of Violence Task Force."

In November, that task force recommended that the school system put police officers in more schools, create more alternative programs for misbehaving students and conduct regular crisis drills.

In his inaugural address last month, Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger strongly endorsed the proposal to expand the school resource officer program. Officers are assigned to Pikesville and Milford Mill high schools.

Sun staff writer Howard Libit contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 1/07/99

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