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Teen charged after confrontation at Southbridge Middle/High School

December 19, 2012
SOUTHBRIDGE — After a day of confusion, Southbridge school administrators are looking to assure parents of their children's security.

Southbridge Police Chief Daniel Charette confirmed Wednesday, Dec. 19 there was an incident on the Southbridge Middle/High School campus Tuesday, Dec. 18, where police removed a student from the premises after an altercation with another student.

The name of the student that was removed was not released, as the student is a minor.

Charette said the student was charged with possession of a weapon — found by police to be a pocketknife — which was kept in the minor's pocket during the altercation.

"Yesterday there was a minor argument between two children," said Charette. "This was taken very seriously."

He said the school was not in lockdown at the time of the incident. Charette added that while he did not want to "play down the severity" of what transpired Dec. 18, he did want people to know there is no need to panic.

"I have seen these kind of things over decades, and we take them very serious," said Charette. "There is no reason for people to being scared."

In a letter send home to middle/high school parents from the Southbridge Public Schools, Acting Superintendent Terry L. Wiggin said, "We are sending this letter home with your student today to inform you that a student at Southbridge Middle/High School was removed from the premises yesterday after it was discovered that [the student was] in possession of a weapon. It is alleged that this student made threats against the school."

Wiggin said during an interview he could elaborate on the alleged threat because of the ongoing investigation by the district and police, but the student has been suspended.

"There is no imminent threat," said Wiggin. "There has been an increased police presence, and has been since the beginning of the week."

Wiggin said the extra police at the school was a choice made in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Wiggin said some parents made the choice to keep their home as a result of Tuesday's incident, which he "respected," as he knew the tragic events of last Friday had made an impression on everyone.

"The safety of the children is of paramount concern to the school, the town, and certainly of parents," said Wiggin. "Despite the unimaginable tragedy [in Newtown], I want parents to know that their schools are safe. Even with an incident like what happened, their schools are safe."

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