As the Board of Education did its best to ignore the stabbing incident at New Rochelle High School just hours before the board meeting last night, New Rochelle High School Principal Don Conetta sent out a robo-call to parents of New Rochelle High School students last night about the stabbing that took place yesterday.
Hello, this is Don Conetta, principal of New Rochelle High School. I am calling to inform parents about an incident that took place today, Monday November 24th. There was an altercation involving two students at approximately 12:30 PM outside on school grounds. As a result of the incident one of the students walked to the nurse's office for attention and was released to the hospital for further treatment. We are conducting a thorough school investigation and will take appropriate disciplinary measures as necessary. Please know that this was an isolated incident and did not disrupt the school day. We look forward to seeing all students in class tomorrow as usual. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call my office at 576-4502. Thank you.
Our sources inside the building were a bit more forthcoming.
We are reliably informed that two male students agreed to fight around lunchtime. They exited the school building near the new wing of the high school. One of the students took off his jacket and put it on the ground before the fight began. The two students fought until suddenly the student who had taken off his jacket broke off the fight and ran away. The other student picked up the jacket with the intention of keeping it as some sort of "prize" for winning the fight. The student who stole the jacket then realized he was bleeding; he had been stabbed in the neck.
In a recent article in Police Magazine, Douglas Iketani, a deputy sheriff with 18 years of law enforcement experience currently assigned to the Office of Homeland Security as a Technical Schools Instructor recently explained how victims of knife attacks may not know they have been stabbed or cut.
"Most individuals who are attacked with an edged weapon", wrote Iketani, "say they thought they were being punched and had no idea that they were stabbed".
That was reportedly the case here where the stabbing victim did not initially realize that he had been stabbed. Upon discovering the stab wound, the student sought medical treatment at the nurse's office. Someone at the school called 911 because paramedics arrived at the school and removed the student on a stretcher. New Rochelle police were also on the scene. As a de facto policy, the school district does NOT normally cooperate with law enforcement on Violent and Disruptive Incidents at the school so police on the scene is highly unusual.
Deputy Sheriff Iketani explains that stab wounds to the neck can be particularly dangerous:
Cuts to the neck and throat can cause rapid, high-volume blood loss. Deep horizontal slashes or multiple thrusts to the right side of the neck can sever the right common carotid artery or internal jugular vein. Cuts to the left side can sever the left common carotid artery.... severing the carotid artery can cause unconsciousness... thrusts or slashes to the front of the throat may damage the trachea (windpipe) or larynx (voicebox). Injuries to these areas are painful and will cause difficulty in breathing.
As Don Conetta is offering to answer questions I have a few:
1) Has the student who did the stabbing been identified; has he been apprehended?
2) What type of edged weapon was used?
3) Was the weapon recovered? How? Where?
5) If the wound was a minor "flesh wound" why was were paramedics called?
6) Who made the call for an ambulance? You? The nurse? Someone else?
7) Who made the call to the police? Did the police make any arrests?
8) Are either of the students involved back at school?
9) If you have yet to complete an investigation, how do you know this is an "isolated" incident and not part of some gang-related activity or on-going dispute among students at the school?
10) Do you intend to inform parents of the result of your investigation and what disciplinary action has been taken? If so, when do you anticipate that will happen.
I have sent Don Conetta an email with these questions and will publish any answers I get back from him (don't hold your breath).
UPDATE: Even after sending out thousands of robocalls yesterday inviting parents to contact him today with questions, Don Conetta has refused to answer ANY of the questions put to him via email. Big surprise! In typical "kick the can down the road" fashion, Conetta emails in response to my request for answers that he will answer questions next week, after the schools investigation is complete. Considering that he failed to mention this caveat in his robocalls, most if not all of my questions do not depend at all in completing an investigation. And can someone explain how it takes A WEEK to investigate an incident like this? The New Rochelle Police Department managed to not only complete their investigation within hours of the incident but arrest and book both students. We will be sure to check back with Mr. Conetta next week to see if he has gotten around to making good on his promise to thousands of parents to take questions on this incident.