St. Paul's Ramsey Junior High characterizes student-on-student stabbing as "horseplay"

Police call it an assault. Ramsey officials call it "horseplay."
Police call it an assault. Ramsey officials call it "horseplay."
Image by Tatiana Craine

After school last Thursday in St. Paul, a 13-year-old student cut a 14-year-old colleague on the forearm with an X-Acto knife. The incident reportedly occurred just off school grounds at Ramsey Junior High School, where both teens are students.

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School officials didn't contact police about the incident, but the victim's mother, Susan Stewart, later did. Stewart's son needed stitches, and the 13-year-old was eventually charged with second-degree assault.

But in a letter sent home with students Friday and signed by Principal Nancy Flynn, school officials characterized the incident as "horseplay that resulted in an injury." And, as the Pioneer Press reports, Stewart is none too happy about it.

From the PiPress:

"I understand they are trying to downplay this, but the extent to which they did that is ridiculous," [Stewart] said. "They didn't convey what happened, and they made my son out to be part of the problem."

Stewart, who called 911 the afternoon of the incident, also questioned the district's decision not to contact police.

District spokeswoman Toya Stewart Downey said the letter did not go into more detail in an effort to protect the students' privacy. Because this was an isolated incident, she said, the district also wanted to avoid alarming other parents unnecessarily.

In a quote echoing the sorts of things Maple Grove officials were saying in the midst of that school's recent hockey sex tape scandal, Downey, regarding the "horseplay" letter, told the PiPress: "We said what we knew at the time and what we could say based on student privacy laws."

The details of the confrontation that led to last Thursday's stabbing aren't clear, but the fact charges have been pressed against the 13-year-old suggests the incident involved much more than mere "horseplay." And furthermore, how would calling an assault an assault in any way violate anyone's privacy?

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