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Charges leveled in Farragut school stabbing

A 10-year-old Farragut Intermediate School pupil was allegedly stabbed repeatedly by another fifth-grade pupil, wielding scissors, as the two boys disagreed and struggled during a mid-afternoon class at the school Thursday, Jan. 11.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 17, that the alleged assailant has since been charged as a juvenile with one count of aggravated assault.

The victim’s father, the complainant, said he had taken his son to Baptist Hospital West for emergency room treatment for injuries sustained when another pupil allegedly used scissors in a scuffle as papers were returned to pupils in the class.

FIS principal Kay Wellons referred all inquiries about the incident to Knox County Schools spokesman Russ Oaks.

Oaks confirmed that the incident had occurred, but would not comment on specifics. The matter involved juveniles, he said, and “will be handled through our regular school disciplinary review process.”

Oaks said injuries sustained did not appear life-threatening. He added that the alleged assailant is no longer in FIS, but Oaks would not say whether he had been suspended or expelled.

KCSO Detective Ray Treece investigated the incident, which occurred about 2:15 p.m. Paul Pinkston investigated for the Knox County Schools.

The victim’s father said when class papers were returned to students, his son’s paper fell to the floor, and another student used his feet to crumple the paper, then elbowed the youngster as he tried to retrieve his paper.

His son, the victim’s father said, first warned his attacker to stop elbowing him. When jostling continued, his son elbowed back — then was stabbed in his back, left forearm, beneath one arm and on the forehead near one eye.

“My son is not a bully,” the victim’s father said. “He’s earned a black belt in karate, and he’s a big, tall, skinny kid who looks thirteen, so he gets teased a lot.” Because of his son’s stature, the man said, authorities often perceive him as an aggressor, not a victim, when he defends himself.

But the complainant said he has “taught my son never to use karate” except in self-defense. “In this case, [my son] grabbed his assailant’s arm when he was elbowed, then struck him in the face after he refused to stop,” the father said.

The complainant, a U.S. Navy veteran of Desert Storm, said he had told his son never to provoke trouble, but to defend himself if attacked.

“From what I know, he did what I would’ve done in this case,” the complainant said.

After the attack, the complainant said, his son saw blood on the scissors and was taken to a school nurses’ office where a volunteer treated the wounds and summoned help. The victim required no stitches, but he was treated at Baptist West’s emergency room.

The complainant, a local high school graduate, said the incident left his son reluctant to return to FIS classes, so he has enrolled in a private school.

“This has turned our lives upside down,” the complainant said, adding that his son since had been treated like the aggressor, not a victim. He was kept from returning to his classroom to retrieve school materials, the father said.

Oaks said the scissors apparently were used in a classroom exercise. But the complainant said sharp scissors should not be condoned at school.

“Those scissors were potentially a lethal weapon,” said the complainant, who noted his son had been subpoenaed to testify in the case set for court Wednesday, Feb. 28. “My son could’ve been killed. We moved here specifically so [my son] would have access to good schools … . We’re supposed to have zero tolerance in our schools.”

The complainant said others, who had seen his son’s attack, told him they were “shocked and awed” by the incident.

The complainant called it ironic that his son and other FIS students, earlier Thursday, participated in a D.A.R.E. anti-drug program intended to combat substance abuse and school violence.

FIS, with about 900 pupils enrolled, participates in the Sheriff’s “Cops in Schools” program in which 10 police officers circulate as resource officers on 25 campuses.


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