Every parent expects their child to be safe and protected at school, to have a full day of their educational needs met. Once again, that wasn’t the case this week at Thompson Middle School. Reportedly at the beginning of school, roughly 8 a.m. Thursday, a seventh-grader entered the building with a metal bat and began an assault on an eighth-grade student, at which time another eighth-grade student, brother of the child with the bat, also become involved on the assault of the eighth-grade boy.
This occurred at the time of day when all students are entering the building and expecting to have their typical day and needs met at school. The boy was hit several times in the head and back with the bat; there were reports of knives in hand and keys being used as weapons. The halls were chaotic with the mayhem that was unfolding; there were children recording on their phones.
This was a planned and coordinated attack. I know of one child who was inadvertently hit with the bat as the initial incident began. I know of another student who had the hurt child bleeding at their feet. There was a lot of blood at the scene and many children unexpectedly became witnesses to this attack — something they should never have to see, let alone in a place where they are supposed to feel safe.
Thank God for our teachers; several rushed in to help break up this assault. Children were directed into their classrooms where they remained the rest of the day. The police arrived and two children were taken into custody; one child was taken to the hospital.
I learned of this horrible situation when my son arrived home from school Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Why were parents not informed of such a serious situation until 3:22 p.m., and only via the school phone app? The principal of Thompson, Laurie Sullivan, delicately called this incident an “altercation” and said “the Superintendent and school administrators are working on disciplinary details.”
There should have been swift and diligent punishment enforced for such behaviors and actions. The administration has yet to address this horrible situation with the many students who witnessed this firsthand and have been affected by this. This is something that no child should have unfolded in front of them. There were signs that were clearly ignored that something was brewing between these students. The lack of security not only at Thompson, but at all Newport public schools needs to be addressed immediately. Protect the children who go to school every day to learn. The administration continues to tell parents the same thing as always: “We hear you, we’re working on it, and these things take time.”
Kelly A. Lohrum, Newport