Assistant principal assaulted on home visit to student

TIM JEAN/Staff file photo. Consentino Middle School Assistant Principal John Mele, pictured, was assaulted and wounded during a visit to a student's home on Tuesday. Here, he places a Chromebook computer into the back of a parent's vehicle outside the school in April. 

HAVERHILL — An assistant principal at the Consentino Middle School was assaulted while conducting a check on a middle school student who is learning from home as a member of the district's Remote Learning Academy.

Superintendent Margaret Marotta said Assistant Principal John Mele was treated at a walk-in clinic for a minor wound then was cleared to return to school the same day.

She said that on Tuesday around 11 a.m., Mele and Ariana Dekeon, a student support coordinator who is a mental health professional, were visiting the home of a student.

Officials did not identify the student.

Marotta said the student had not been participating in remote learning and that Mele and Dekeon were making an attendance visit.

Marotta said there was a mix of adults and children in the home at the time of the incident.

"An individual became agitated and assaulted a Consentino School staff member," Marotta said. "The staff member utilized safety training to protect himself and quickly moved out of the way, but did sustain a wound."

She said Mele and Dekeon stepped outside of the student's home and Dekeon called the police.

"We always send people in pairs," Marotta said, in regard to home visits by school staff.

Police Capt. Stephen Doherty said he could not comment on the incident.

"This extremely concerning event highlights the need for our students to be in school where we are able to provide desperately needed mental health services and supports," Marotta said. "The staff at Consentino School are to be commended for their commitment to our students, their quick response in a crisis and their close adherence to policies and procedures."

About 750 students are enrolled at Consentino, and about 250 of them are in the Remote Learning Academy and do not attend in-person classes.

She said Tuesday's home visit incident will be discussed internally among school staff.

"It was a very unusual circumstance and staff responded the way you hope they would," Marotta said. "We encourage home visits but we do not mandate them."

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