Police say teacher prevented student from stabbing another at Houlton High School

Posted May 28, 2013, at 3:11 p.m.
Last modified May 28, 2013, at 4:49 p.m.

HOULTON, Maine — A quick-thinking teacher stepped in front of a student who was allegedly wielding a knife at another student at Houlton High School Tuesday afternoon.

Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin said the incident took place at 12:42 p.m. in social studies teacher Timothy Tweedie’s classroom. A male and female student, both 15 years old, got into a verbal altercation that escalated. The female student then took a tactical-type knife with a six-inch blade out of her book bag, which she had by her desk, according to Asselin. She allegedly charged toward the male student. Tweedie observed what was taking place and quickly intervened by stepping between the two students. The teacher wrestled with the girl for control of the knife as she was trying to stab him and get free.

Asselin said late Tuesday afternoon that Robert Kinens, who was teaching in a nearby classroom, heard the commotion. A student from inside Tweedie’s class opened the door and called for help. Kinens responded and assisted Tweedie. They restrained the girl and tried to reason with her but were unable to get her to release the knife.

At that point, Principal Marty Bouchard entered the classroom and talked the student into dropping the knife, Asselin reported.

Tweedie suffered bite marks, but was otherwise unharmed. The students were not injured.

The female student’s father took her to Houlton Regional Hospital for a psychological evaluation, the chief said.

“There was no history of any trouble between the two students,” Asselin said late Tuesday. “I am not sure if they were friends or acquaintances. And early indication is that it is not related to bullying. I want to commend the teachers who stepped in to prevent harm to the student, because I have no doubt there could have been very serious injury done.”

Officer Theron Bickford escorted the girl and her father to the hospital. He indicated that charges against the girl are forthcoming.

Asselin said she could face charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and assault.

The school was not placed on lockdown but parents were notified and students were secured in their classrooms.

Officials at the school would not return calls seeking more information about the incident, but released the following statement:

“Today at Houlton Jr/Sr High School there was an incident that required us to go into secure in-rooms mode,” officials said. “The incident was swiftly dealt with by the Houlton Jr/Sr High School staff and the Houlton Police Department. We appreciate your understanding and support as we strive to ensure your child’s safety.”

Bickford and Officer Stewart Kennedy responded to the school. The matter is still under investigation.

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