Rumors of violent incident upset parents Alleged assault was at home of Liberty High student


Carroll County school officials scrambled yesterday to quash rumors about a suspected violent incident this week that involved a Liberty High School student. But some parents are unhappy with steps taken by school administrators to address the matter.

Liberty High Principal Randy Clark sent a letter yesterday to parents, students and staff to address "a recent matter in our community" and to alleviate growing concerns. Clark stated that he could provide no details of the incident because it was a police matter involving a juvenile.

Parents said they were entitled to more information. They said they were concerned for their children's safety because of recent incidents of school-related shootings across the country. Last week, a Springfield, Ore., teen-ager opened fire in a school lunchroom, killing two and wounding about 20.

Throughout the week, parents and students at Liberty High in Eldersburg said they had heard rumors about a violent occurrence at or near the school.

"This makes me very nervous," said a parent whose son attends Liberty High and who asked not to be named. "I think as parents we should be made aware of what happened. I don't want to send my kid to a school if this is starting to come to our neighborhood."

Capt. Greg M. Shipley, a state police spokesman, said last night that on Tuesday police arrested a 14-year-old Eldersburg boy on charges of assaulting another juvenile by allegedly pointing rifle at him at the suspect's home.

Shipley said both are students at Liberty.

He said the suspect appeared before a juvenile court master and was being held pending a hearing.

Shipley said the boy was being held at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County. A formal petition will be filed next week charging the teen with assault, he said. The investigation "is ongoing, and additional arrests may be forthcoming," he said.

In his letter, Clark wrote, "we do wish to emphasize that this incident did not take place on school property and did not involve the possession of any weapons at school. Recent events portrayed in the national media concerning school violence have created heightened concerns for the safety and welfare of students and staff. We are sensitive to these concerns and have every expectation that the safe and orderly school environment that we enjoy at Liberty High School will continue."

Clark said he decided to send a letter because of growing speculation surrounding the incident.

"Rumors were flying and I decided to address the issue so students, staff and parents could have fears eased," he said.

Gary Dunkleberger, assistant superintendent of instruction, said he is sympathetic to parents' concerns. However, he said state law prevents him from discussing specifics of the incident because it involved the police and a juvenile. He refused to say whether the student has been expelled.

Pub Date: 5/29/98

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