Abbotsford student assaulted with a baton at school

A 17-year-old student was assaulted with a collapsible baton in the boys’ locker room at Rick Hansen Secondary School on Friday

A 17-year-old student was assaulted with a collapsible baton in the boys’ locker room at Rick Hansen Secondary School on Friday, allegedly by another 16-year-old student.

Const. Ian MacDonald of the Abbotsford Police Department said the incident began with a verbal altercation between two other students.

The 17-year-old became involved in the argument, telling one student to leave the other alone. A friend of the other student joined in with the baton and started hitting the victim.

The young man was struck several times on the head and the leg.

Kevin Godden, school district superintendent, said staff were brought in and broke up the fight before calling 911 for an ambulance.

MacDonald said that after the ambulance was called, police were notified and responded to the scene.

Police arrested the 16-year-old and are recommending charges of assault with a weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon. MacDonald said the young man was taken into custody and then released to his parents on the weekend.

The 17-year-old was taken to hospital and received treatment to multiple injuries, most seriously to his head. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Godden said this type of incident is “tremendously uncommon,” and of obvious concern to the district, which is currently conducting a review.

He said students occasionally have altercations, but “it’s rare for it to get physical – and even more rare for it to involve a weapon.”

The school has given the alleged assailant an indefinite suspension – the highest level. Godden said that as a part of “due process,” the student will have a hearing at the board office within 10 days, where he and his parents can make their case. Staff will then determine the proper course of action, which could include expulsion from the district.

Godden said the school district’s protocol is to teach students the code of conduct – which states weapons are banned from any school building.

“That’s communicated to every child, in every grade, in every year.”

He added that the school district will complete a review and a debriefing of the incident and if any gaps in current protocol or procedures are noted in the process, they will be amended.

Godden said Rick Hansen Secondary is a special school that has won awards for being an anti-bullying environment, and though staff and students are shaken, measures will be taken to ensure students feel safe.

“No place is impervious to violence, but you can do your best to mitigate it.”