A 16-year-old Hollywood Hills High School student who stabbed a classmate Wednesday morning was bullied since he started school last year after moving from Jamaica, his mother and classmates said.
The two sophomores got into a fistfight before the stabbing, which occurred at the back of the campus just before 7:30 a.m. After the initial fight, one of the two went to another part of the school, pulled a 4- to 6-inch pocketknife from his backpack and came back to stab the other boy several times in the left shoulder as the boy raised his hands to defend himself, according to Hollywood Police spokesman Tony Rode.
High school administrators did not know the accused stabber was allegedly harassed regularly, said Keith Bromery, a Broward school district spokesman, who also said that staff members responsible for supervising the campus were not present to prevent the stabbing.
"There was no adult close enough who saw the knife situation until the child was injured," he said. "It's a big school; you can't be everywhere."
Hours after the incident, both boys were calling the other the aggressor in the skirmish, police said.
"Some fellow students have been telling us there has been bad blood between them," Rode said.
Students who witnessed the skirmish saw the soon-to-be victim approach the other boy and argue with him, prompting the fistfight. At least two faculty members tried to break it up, police and students said. After the stabbing, the victim's white T-shirt was stained with blood, and students and teachers screamed and ran for help, some of the boys' schoolmates said.
The victim, whose identity was not released, was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where he received stitches on his shoulder and was released. Police arrested the stabbing suspect, whom the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is not identifying because of his age, on a felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge and causing disturbance at a school, a misdemeanor, Rode said. He was taken to the Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
He will likely face expulsion, said Bromery.
Bromery said six security monitors are responsible for supervising the campus before school. School administrators, teachers and support staff also are trained to respond, but they were not able to act in time to prevent the stabbing, Bromery said.
The victim's family could not be reached for comment.
The stabbing suspect, who was wearing a yellow T-shirt and jeans, did not respond to several reporters as police walked him to a car that took him to a juvenile detention center. His mother said she hired an attorney and didn't know many details about the incident.
"My son was bullied a lot at school," she said, later adding, "I want to make sure that [the other boy's] family understands we're concerned about them. I want to make sure their son's OK."