Student: Principal covered up stabbing

January 16, 2008 1:40:35 PM PST
A student says another student attacked her inside their South Philadelphia school, and the principal has done little to nothing to protect her since.

13-year-old Holly Dawson alleges a 13-year-old boy assaulted her inside the Sharswood School in South Philadelphia.

Dawson described the alleged December 19th incident to Action News reporter Vernon Odom:

"He was sitting on my desk. He started poking me in my forehead, saying 'I hate you', cursing at me. So I put his hand away and he twisted my arm all around. Then he started getting pencils and stabbing me in my leg, my arm and my hand. And then he grabbed me by the neck and choked me. Two other kids came over and got him away from me. The next day he slapped me six or ten times in my left cheek."

Dawson says she didn't tell her mom about what happened until a day later. She says her teacher told the principal, Maureen A. Skalski, about the claims by Dawson... but the boy remained in school.

"They moved me to another class and kept him in the class," Dawson said.

The Dawsons filed a complaint with police about the alleged incident earlier this month. Police arrested the boy following the complaint.

District officials say Skalski may be disciplined because she didn't submit a serious-incident report until January 10th, three days after the student was arrested. The district requires a serious incident report be submitted in a timely fashion.

Safe-schools advocate Jack Stollsteimer, the state-appointed official who monitors safety in the district, blasted Skalski for the reporting delay and the district for not moving the perpetrator to another school.

"She refused to call police. She refused to report these incidents to the school incident reporting desk as required by the principal's code and school district policy... She dismissed the parents' concerns for their daughter," Stollsteimer told Vernon Odom.

Stollsteimer added that, after he was arrested, the boy threatened the girl. He accused Skalski of not trying to protect Dawson from the boy.

Dawson left school at least once because she is afraid the boy will attack her again.

Skalski has not commented on the allegation(s) against her or about the incident.

The district is vowing to investigate the matter more before February.