A sixth-grader was attacked by two seventh-graders outside Kenmore Middle School last Thursday after school hours, and the incident has raised concerns among parents about how the school handles cases of bullying and violence.
According to Kenmore Principal John Word, a seventh-grader said the sixth-grade victim had called him “a racial slur” over the summer, and the seventh-grader and his friend waited until about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday to retaliate.
In the field between Kenmore and Carlin Springs Elementary School along S. Carlin Springs Road, the two seventh-graders hit the younger boy in the face at least twice, while a crowd of other students watched, school officials confirmed. The victim reportedly received bruises on his face but didn’t need to receive medical treatment.
An administrator quickly broke up the fight, the school said, but police were called and filed a report. The boy’s mother, who will not be named to protect the identity of the minor, said she did not receive any communication from the school until she went herself the following day.
The incident sparked concern among parents of Kenmore students, to the point where the school held a community meeting yesterday afternoon to address the attack.
“This was not random, it was targeted and wrong,” Word told a group of more than a dozen parents in the school’s library yesterday. “After interviewing those culprits, the victims and some witnesses, I was convinced that this incident should result in the most severe consequence I could administer.”
The seventh-graders initially were given two-day suspensions, Word said, but he decided to increase their punishments after the school completed its investigation. Word could not reveal the seventh-graders’ final punishment due to student confidentiality laws, but according to the APS Handbook, the most severe punishment allowed for incidents like “physical altercations, fighting and bullying” is “a maximum of ten (10) consecutive days out-of-school suspension, request for disciplinary hearing for additional suspension time and/or a recommendation for expulsion.”
While Word said he waited to reach out to the community until he had all the facts, that explanation did not ease the concerns of the parents at yesterday’s meeting.
“I’m concerned about my children’s safety at this school,” said a parent, who requested her name not be used due to potential “repercussions upon our children.” “There was no message given to our kids… The bylaws show that you have 48 hours to respond. Now we have all these kids hearing these things [about the attack], and they wonder why no one has talked to them about it in school.”
When the victim’s mother began to introduce herself at the meeting, she couldn’t finish her sentence before she began crying. She clutched a tissue for the majority of the hourlong gathering, while listening to the meeting’s translation by a Spanish interpreter sitting next to her.
The assault — which is how the school classified the incident — took place exactly one week after a separate altercation at Gunston Middle School. ARLnow.com received a tip about a seventh-grader at Gunston who, his parents say, was “sucker-punched” in the hallway during school hours. The victim had received “verbal bullying” during class and “a substitute teacher did not intervene on his behalf,” the parent wrote. (more…)
The incident happened just before 7:00 p.m. Police say an unknown suspect exposed himself at the water fountain outside the school, near the athletic fields.
“The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his thirties, approximately 5’3″ tall and 140 lbs,” according to an Arlington County police crime report. “He was wearing a bright red shirt and blue jeans at the time of the incident.”
There’s no indication that any children saw the man’s genitalia, police told ARLnow.com. WJLA reported that the fields were likely in use by community groups at the time.
The Arlington Soccer Association’s club practices at the turf by Gunston Middle School (2700 S. Lang Street) have been targeted by thieves last week.
The ASA sent an email to soccer parents Sunday night alerting them that thieves had stolen items, including smartphones, from the fields while the teams were practicing. The first incidents of theft happened on Tuesday, according to the email, with soccer balls, phones and several travel bags taken.
“In response to the first incidents on Tuesday, ASA issued guidelines for personal property management to our travel team coaches and team managers that included specific suggestions to mitigate potential issues at Gunston and Virginia Highlands [Park],” the email states. “Despite this, issues continued several times during the week.”
One witness to a theft Tuesday night said it was perpetrated by a 15 year-old.
“A 15 year old youth grabbed two soccer backpacks and started running,” said the witness, who declined to be identified. “Fortunately, bystanders chased and caught the thief and held him until the police arrived. Since each backpack contained a smartphone, the police told us that he would be charged with attempted grand larceny.”
ASA said the Arlington County Police Department has agreed to station more officers, both on foot and in vehicles, at the fields during practice. The ASA has also issued guidelines to its players that include the best place to leave bags during practice at Gunston — behind the goal closest to the school — and a request for each team to provide two volunteers to help supervise practice.
The incident happened around 8:30 p.m. at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Lang Street. According to police, a young adult male was walking on the sidewalk when a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt approached him and demanded money.
The victim was shot once in the leg and the suspect fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.
Police established a perimeter and brought in K-9 units and the Fairfax County Police helicopter to search for the suspect, but were unable to locate him. Both Gunston Middle School and nearby Oakridge Elementary School were hosting evening activities at the time and were locked down for a period after the incident.
The victim was transported to George Washington University hospital with what is described as a non-life-threatening injury, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Some roads in the area are still blocked off as police continue to investigate the crime.
The last reported non-fatal shooting in Arlington County occurred on May 29, 2012, outside of a hotel in Crystal City. A man suffered two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds during that incident. The murder of
A woman was raped while visiting her sister in the Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhood last Thursday, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.
The crime happened while the victim was visiting her sister’s apartment, in the basement of a home shared by several tenants, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A man who lives in one of the rooms forced himself upon her while in one of the basement’s common areas, according to Sternbeck.
RAPE, 04/26/12, 2100 block of N. Patrick Henry Drive. At 3:30 pm on April 26, a victim was raped by a known subject at a multi-family residence. Carlos Montalban Pineda, 45, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with animate object sexual penetration.
On Saturday a man was arrested after police say he brandished a BB gun during a parking dispute at Gunston Middle School.
BRANDISHING A FIREARM, 04/28/12, 2700 block of S. Lang Street. On April 28 at 9:37 pm, a subject displayed a black handgun after arguing with the victim over a parking space. Officers located the suspect a short time later at a soccer field and learned the firearm was a BB gun. Mohamed Sesay, 30, of Alexandria, VA, was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm on school property. He was held on no bond.
On Sunday, police responded to the Comfort Inn in Ballston for a report of two women who were advertising prostitution services on Backpage.com while using the hotel’s lobby computer. No arrests were made.
PROSTITUTION, 04/29/12, 1200 block of N. Glebe Road. At 8 pm on April 29, officers were alerted of two subjects engaged in prostitution at an area hotel. Upon arrival, it was learned that the subjects were placing online solicitations ads from the hotel lobby computer.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
Older ‘Quota’ Memos Released — Arlington County Police Chief M. Douglas Scott continues to insist that the police department does not and never did have a quota system, despite new memos being unearthed which set “goals,” “expectations,” or “levels of production” for arrests and tickets. [WUSA 9, Washington Post]
Documentary About Arlington Freedom Rider — A documentary is being made about Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, an long-time Arlington resident and one of the original Freedom Riders who fought against racial segregation in the South. [YouTube]
Contest Sends APS Teacher to Volcano – Gunston Middle School teacher John Stewart will be taking an all-expenses-paid educational trip to Mt. Kilauea in Hawaii after winning a contest sponsored by Wonder bread. While in Hawaii, at the country’s most active volcano, Stewart will “provide an interactive educational experience to his 8th grade students at Gunston Middle School, which will also receive 25 free tablet computers for the remote lesson,” according to a press release. [7Wonders of the USA Teacher Tour]
Flickr pool photo by Alex
In his four years in the NFL, Kapinos has punted for four different teams. An All-American at Penn State, Kapinos was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie in 2007 and has been an NFL nomad ever since. He played for the Green Bay Packers from 2008-2010, with the Indianapolis Colts for one game in 2010, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers from December 2010 through this summer, when he was released after the preseason. Now, Kapinos is cooling his heels in Arlington while waiting for an injury or poor play to put another punter out of commission.
Though Kapinos maintains a home base in Arlington, while he’s signed he will move into an apartment in whatever city he’s playing for. It’s an experience not unlike Kapinos’ childhood. Born an Army brat in West Point, N.Y., Kapinos moved from city to city before his family settled down in Springfield, Va. By the time Kapinos became an All-Met punter for West Springfield High School, he had already attended 8 or 9 different schools.
In Arlington, Kapinos spends much of his time staying in shape. His workout routine consists of running, lifting weights, and punting — usually back at his old high school in Springfield, but occasionally at the fields around Gunston Middle School. At 6’1″ and 235 lbs, Kapinos is an imposing presence. On the field though, he looks like your average punter.
“In relation to the other guys on the field, I look like a shrimp out there,” he admits.
When he’s not working out, Kapinos spends his off-season time golfing, taking care of his bulldog puppy and hanging out with a tight-knit group of friends. On weekends, he can sometimes be spotted at Clarendon Grill, Josephine (in D.C.) or “some place inconspicuous.” What you won’t usually find Kapinos doing on weekends is watching NFL football.
“I don’t really watch,” he says. “I’d rather be playing.”
Panel Discusses Energy Plan Options – The task force in charge of helping to craft a Community Energy Plan for Arlington met yesterday to discuss options for providing “district energy” in the county’s denser areas. District energy would centralize heating and cooling in an area, serving multiple buildings. One of the big questions posed to the task force by its energy consultant was whether the company that provides the district energy plant should be county-owned, a public-private partnership or privately-owned. More from TBD.
Gunston to Get New Field, But Board Cuts Canopies – On Tuesday, the board approved a $715,000 contract to replace the synthetic field turf at Gunston Middle School. But they stripped out $120,000 in funding that county staff had allocated for shade canopies over the bleachers. More from the Sun Gazette.
Hotel Protest in Crystal City Tomorrow — Workers are expected to picket in front of the Crystal City Sheraton tomorrow to protest supposed abuses of workers’ rights by the hotel’s parent company. The rally has the backing of local organized labor. More from dclabor.org
Two people were taken into custody early Monday morning during an apparent break-in at Gunston Middle School.
A police officer arrested the pair at gunpoint after responding to the school on a routine call for a tripped motion detector. The officer first spotted a broken window then encountered the suspects inside.
Initial reports suggest the suspects may have been attempting to steal laptops from the school’s library.