March 11, 2011 in Idaho

CdA student stabbed in class; eighth-grader in police custody

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Kathy Plonka photo

“It’s hard to believe that I know someone who would try and kill someone else,” said Woodland Middle School 7th grader Marissa DiQuarto, front facing, as she hugged fellow classmates after stabbing at the school in Coeur d’Alene on Friday, March 11, 2011.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

A North Idaho middle school student was stabbed during class Friday in what Coeur d’Alene school officials called the district’s most violent incident in at least two decades.

A Woodland Middle School eighth-grade boy was stabbed in the shoulder, chest and arm with a pocketknife, authorities said. The boy was taken to Kootenai Medical Center for treatment of the non-life-threatening injuries.

His accused attacker, another eighth-grade boy, was booked into Kootenai County Juvenile Detention Center on a charge of aggravated battery, according to Coeur d’Alene police.

A teacher and several students witnessed the stabbing about 2:25 p.m. and immediately intervened, said school district spokeswoman Laura Rumpler. The school was locked down for about 15 minutes while police searched for the boy with the pocketknife.

He was found a short distance away from the school and taken into custody, police said.

Woodland Middle School seventh grader Marissa DiQuarto was shaken by the incident. “It’s hard to believe that I know someone who would try and kill someone else,” she said.

Rumpler said many students and staff were upset by the stabbing. “We are pulling together a crisis response team to be available at the school on Monday, so they can help people work through this.”

Stacy Schriger, who has two children at Woodland, pulled up to the school just as first-responders arrived. Concerned, she went into the school office. Police told her and other visitors it was dangerous for them to be in the school.

“We walked outside, and they locked the door behind us,” said Schriger, adding her children were still inside. “It was a horrible feeling.”

Schriger saw paramedics take the stabbing victim out. “He was alert, so that made us feel better.” The students were let out of the school a short time later.

A young girl who witnessed the stabbing spoke with Schriger afterward. “She was just quivering.”

This is the first time there’s been incident like this at Woodland Middle School, Rumpler said. The district has a zero-tolerance policy about weapons. “Any weapon, any pocketknife would be confiscated if seen or found on a student.”

Schriger considers the incident isolated and is not concerned for her children’s safety when they return to school on Monday.

“I think it will be a safer place because everyone will be so aware,” she said, adding her family lived just 15 minutes from Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999, when a dozen students and a teacher were killed by two other students in a shooting rampage. “There’s something about a heightened awareness. If a kid’s having problems, now is probably the time when they will see it.”

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