Thrown chair hits counselor, leads to Mont Pleasant lockout
Updated 10:33 p.m.
SCHENECTADY A student “inadvertently” threw a chair at a guidance counselor at Mont Pleasant Middle School on Wednesday, leading to a situation in which school officials locked out parents and visitors while police and paramedics rushed inside, according to authorities.
Two hours later, officials described the event as a minor incident.
The school was placed on lockout to “protect the privacy of the student and the staff member involved,” said district spokeswoman Karen Corona.
The entire incident unfolded in the hallway by the front door, between the main office and the guidance office, she said.
A student threw a chair that “inadvertently” hit the counselor in the leg, she said.
“The student was in a fit of anger,” she added. “It was not a student going after a teacher.”
Police said a 12-year-old boy struck the counselor in the lower back and leg with the chair.
“After speaking with multiple people on scene, it did not appear that the student intentionally struck the teacher with the chair. It appears he was having an episode and recklessly threw the chair,” police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Dearing said in a news release.
He also said the staff member refused to press charges against the student and insisted police not take any action against the boy. She was treated on the scene for pain in her lower back and leg. She declined to be transported to the hospital and said she would seek further treatment on her own, Dearing said.
Corona emphasized that.
“No one went to the hospital,” she said, adding that staff called police only because they didn’t see what happened.
“It happened right outside the guidance doorway. The staff wasn’t sure what was going on,” she said. “Everyone’s at a heightened state of awareness right now.”
The interim principal took the boy into the main office to calm him down, Corona said. She spoke with him and his mother, who was called to the school, according to police.
At the end of the school day, students were allowed to leave through side doors, leaving the main office area closed off. From there, the student and his mother were escorted out.
“You want as little activity around him as possible,” Corona said, adding if the boy had walked into the crowd at dismissal, he could have become riled again.
“The de-escalation might not have worked as well,” she said.
The lockout was lifted during after-school activities, but school officials recognized the athletes coming from other schools for basketball practice and let them into the building while the lockout was still in effect.
Police and school officials maintained a heavy presence at dismissal to make sure students dispersed rather than starting fights. Many left quietly, but about 30 students gathered, talking angrily together. They included two students who had been in the main office when the incident occurred and had heard portions of it.
As the group began to spread into the street, a police officer called for a police car, saying she thought “something’s going to go down.” But when school officials and probation officers began to identify the students to police, they dispersed calmly.