Girl attacked at Millinocket school ‘kind of happy’ fight was recorded

Posted Jan. 24, 2013, at 3:26 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — The 13-year-old girl attacked at Stearns High School earlier this week has lost some vision in her left eye and might need surgery to repair a broken nose, her mother said Thursday.

“My nose hurts really bad at the ridge between my eyes and my eye is really swollen,” said the middle-school student, whose name is being withheld. “There is a lot of blur in my eye. If I look straight ahead and if I try to look at something specific, then it will be blurred ahead … I can feel that it is really swollen.”

Doctors have said eye surgery is unlikely, but surgery to fix her daughter’s slightly displaced nose, which was broken when she was kicked in the face at Stearns on Tuesday, will probably have to occur, said the girl’s mother, 44-year-old Erica Dash of Millinocket.

The kick caused bleeding within the eye and a reduction of its clarity from 20/20 to 20/25. The damage might be permanent, Dash said.

Dash and Superintendent Kenneth Smith have said that two girls attacked Dash’s daughter as she walked in a school hallway after classes had let out for the day at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

After Dash’s daughter and an eighth-grader exchanged punches, a 16-year-old Stearns High junior kicked the victim in the head, breaking her nose and damaging her eye, as the other attacker held her bent over, they said.

Two students recorded the incident and later posted videos to Facebook, they said. The videos were apparently pulled from the site, but officials have copies of them, Dash said.

The police investigation continues, Police Chief Donald Bolduc said Thursday. Smith said he expects to be able to release some of the findings of the ongoing school investigation shortly.

“We are still getting more information,” Smith said Thursday. “I think generally we know enough, but we don’t know all the details and we need to know more to be sure of that. I would say we are not positive enough to go to court, but we are just generally trying to keep our nose to the grindstone.”

Smith has said the two attackers and the two students who recorded the incident could face 10-day suspensions or expulsions if investigators find that the fight and recording were part of a premeditated effort to bully the victim.

Meanwhile, doctors have told Dash’s daughter to stay at home and avoid reading, watching television or moving much. Appointments with specialists in Bangor on Friday, and a Portland eye specialist next week, could reveal whether the damage is permanent or requires surgery, Dash said.

“She is OK. She is still in pain but we are giving her medication. We are just managing her pain,” Dash said. “She is staying in bed all day today. She will take it easy so she doesn’t strain.”

They might have been part of an attempt to bully her, but Dash’s daughter says she is actually pleased the attack was recorded.

“When I heard that they put the video up [on Facebook], I was actually kind of happy,” the girl said. “The police could see the actual truth, and a lot of proof of it, and that I actually got her [hit one of her attackers] a few times.”

“I would thank them for videoing it to show the police,” she added. “I think they did it for publicity, on social media, to be cool. I think it was really stupid, but I think it was really good that they handed it over to the police.”

Yet seeing the recording of the incident is difficult, the girl said.

“When she kicks me in the face, my heart just sinks, when I watch it,” the girl said.

Dash said she believes her daughter is handling the incident extremely well and wishes that the video had not been posted on Facebook.

“It is very sad that people find this entertaining. It’s very sad that people would even comment about it,” Dash said. “I have taught my daughter to defend herself if it comes to [a fight] but never to hit first … and I stand behind her 100 percent.”

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