Statement from Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, Superintendent of Schools on School Safety Incident at James M. Bennett High on Wednesday, April 5
Providing a safe learning environment every day for our students and staff is our highest priority, so when we have a disruption to school routine like we had this morning at James M. Bennett High School we respond quickly and decisively with whatever resources we have available to ensure the incident is handled and order is restored. While it turned out that we did not need as much law enforcement support as immediately responded to the school, we do appreciate the quick response and readiness of officers from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and Salisbury City Police. We have an excellent working relationship with law enforcement in support of safe schools. Our staff and law enforcement personnel handled the incident very well, and the vast majority of JMB students did an excellent job of following directions and continuing with the school day.
What occurred at about 10:35 this morning was a fight involving three students that then led three other students to engage in the incident. This occurred in the main hallway during the class change from Period 3 to Period 4. Pepper spray was deployed to bring those involved in the incident under control. The School Resource Officer and staff quickly handled the situation and detained those involved, and the school was put on a precautionary safe in place status to ensure that the hallways were cleared and the school day continued while the investigation began. JMB parents were notified of the incident through a call and email from Principal Rick Briggs.
Most students remained in school for the remainder of the day. Parents who wished to sign their children out early were permitted to do so. A proactive law enforcement presence will be on hand at the school for the remainder of today and tomorrow to support the safe learning environment.
At this point the Sheriff’s Office has transported four students to be charged and is anticipating charging a fifth student in connection with this school safety incident. The Salisbury Police Department also transported one student. The investigation is continuing and more arrests may be forthcoming.