EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 29, 2008

14-year-old boy charged with pulling knife on school staff member Fourth incident in last month drawing police to a Haverhill school

HAVERHILL — Police said a 14-year-old student pulled a knife on a staff member at Haverhill Alternative School and ran from the building before being wrestled to the ground by several officers in a neighbor's yard.

Alternative School Principal John DePolo said the boy, who has been at the school for about a month, refused to go to class yesterday morning.

DePolo said a staff member brought the boy to a counseling room to talk to him when the boy pulled out a knife and threatened him. DePolo said the boy did not try to stab anyone with the knife and that there have not been any prior disciplinary problems with the student. Another staff member discovered what was happening and called police. DePolo said that in the meantime the boy dashed out of the school and was followed by a staff member.

Police spokesman Sgt. John Arahovites said police responded to a call from the school at 8:37 a.m. The school is housed in the St. James School building on Primrose Street and provides a structured, therapeutic, educational setting for students in grades six through 12 who have been unsuccessful in other school programs.

Arahovites said an officer arrived on Primrose Street, near 14th Avenue, and saw the victim, who police identified as Alternative School staff member Robert Farrell, 50, pointing to a young boy.

"The officer approached the boy and told him to get rid of the knife he was supposed to be carrying," Arahovites said. "Two more officers arrived and the boy started breathing heavily and his face turned red."

Arahovites said the officers chased the boy a short distance as he tried to get away.

"They caught up to him, pinned his arms to his side, then placed him on the ground and handcuffed him," Arahovites said. "He was found with a knife in his shirt. It looked like a kitchen knife."

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