EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 5, 2012

Guard hurt breaking up student fight

Scully says students involved in scuffle will be disciplined

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — A security guard at Haverhill High School was injured yesterday after he stepped in to break up a fight that was brewing between two male students. Officials said the guard and a teacher had moved the students away from each other when the guard was either pushed or lost his balance and fell to the floor, striking his head and face against a hallway wall.

School officials said the incident happened yesterday just before 10 a.m. in the area of the exterior shipping and receiving double doors near the cafeteria.

School Superintendent James Scully said security guard Bennie Scovotti was injured after he and a teacher stepped in to separate two male students, who appeared to be posturing for a fight. Scully said Scovotti was taken by ambulance to Holy Family Hospital. He said Scovotti was treated for his injuries and was expected to be released yesterday afternoon.

"These two boys have never had any discipline problems in the past to the best of my knowledge," Scully said. "Two kids got heated for whatever reason."

Scully said the incident happened in a busy and visible area where teachers and security personnel monitor students coming and going in the halls between classes and during lunch periods.

"We're dealing with a lot of children, and some have issues and some don't," Scully said. "We've had fights before, but it's unfortunate that a security guard has been hurt."

School officials said Scovotti has been employed by the school department since 2004.

Deputy Police Chief Donald Thompson said one of the boys, a 16-year-old, was arrested by a police school resource officer and was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, to wit, a cement wall. He said the boy was transported to juvenile court in Lawrence for his arraignment on the charges.

Thompson said the other student, an 18-year-old boy, will be summonsed to court on charges of disrupting a school assembly.

Scully said the fact that police found reason to charge the two students exacerbates the question of their standing within the school system. He said that in addition to the charges they are facing, the two students will be disciplined by Principal Bernie Nangle and that it will likely involve suspensions.

"Since I have come to Haverhill, I have taken a very hard line against those that have disrupted our schools, whether it be physical confrontations in school or at athletic events, as well those who put inappropriate material on social networking pages," Scully said. "In addition, any of these matters automatically get referred to the police department and or the district attorney's office when appropriate."

"When people make the wrong choices, they must deal with the consequences for their own decisions," Scully said. "For all too long, sometimes issues like this are swept under the table. I have no intention of doing that."