Student stabbed before school starts Thursday

March 23, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
A high school student was injured in a stabbing before classes began at Northern High School Thursday.

Tahira Stalberte - spokesperson with Durham Public Schools - confirmed to ABC11 that two students were involved in the incident in a school hallway just after 7 a.m. It is unclear what the confrontation was about.

Authorities arrested 16-year-old Eric Tyrone Prince Jr. shortly after the incident. He is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and having a weapon on school property.

The injured student was taken to Duke University Hospital and is undergoing surgery for "a serious stab wound to the upper torso," according to officials.

During a press conference Thursday, officials said the school does "randomly" use metal detectors to look for weapons, but Thursday was not one of those random days.

Northern High School Principal John Colclough told reporters the school is safe, despite the incident. However, parents and students at the high school say they are concerned.

Parent Deborah Belk told ABC11 she received a text message from her daughter Marian, who is a junior at the school, about the stabbing and worries about her safety.

"This kind of stuff has been going on a long, long time and now she texts me somebody gets stabbed. My question is, okay there's only one level next, and that's a shooting. So how far is this going to go?" Belk said. "It seems to me the administrators don't take these assaults seriously."

School officials said they do take the issues seriously and make safety a priority, but Marian Belk said it's not only frightening, it's a distraction.

"People can't learn. People are scared," she said. "I don't want to be scared when I come to school. I don't want to watch my back every time I'm taking notes or something."

A senior at the school told ABC11 she doesn't fear for her own safety, but does worry about the problem escalating.

"The only reason it makes me feel unsafe is my brother is in tenth grade and you never know. He's a male and something happens, he gets in an argument, and he gets stabbed," Johana Suarez said.

In recent weeks, fights between students at Northern High School have surfaced on YouTube. Last week, the school was on lockdown for another incident.

There are just over 1,600 students at Northern High School.

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