Police, school officials deny stabbing at Slater Middle School

Police, school officials deny stabbing at Slater Middle School

PAWTUCKET – School officials and members of the Pawtucket Police Department are blaming rampant social media rumors mashing multiple incidents at Slater Middle School last week for parents believing that a student was stabbed and taken to the hospital.

Detective Sgt. Christopher LeFort said police responded to Slater “for several large fights,” but none involved a stabbing. They also insist there were never any weapons involved. Officials said the rumors are being fueled by people’s confusion over a separate incident where someone with stab wounds showed up on the property well outside of school hours.

“Information is being reported that someone got stabbed and/or a gun was involved. At this time we do not have any complaints to that nature,” said LeFort.

A parent who kept her child home from school last Friday, March 15, and was considering doing so again this week, told The Breeze she believed school officials were lying about the extent of what happened, a sentiment expressed in numerous posts online.

Videos show at least one violent physical altercation between students.

Police and school officials released a joint statement last Friday.

“The School Department and Police Department always prioritize the safety of our students. Yesterday, there were separate, isolated incidents that took place at Samuel Slater Middle School. The occurrence of these incidents at the same location has led to wild rumors and misinformation on social media that are completely false and inaccurate,” they said. “These social media postings have created a sense of discomfort for students and staff at our school.”

To be clear, they emphasized, “Samuel Slater Middle School is a safe and welcoming environment for our students and teachers every day and we strive to keep it that way.”

Officials provided a timeline of the series of unrelated events occurring at Slater:

• Incident one – Last Wednesday, March 13, at around 12:15 a.m., the police responded to a car accident at Slater. Officers were informed by the driver that he had been the victim of a stabbing.  

“This incident is completely unrelated to the school other than being on the property,” read the combined statement. The incident is currently being investigated by the police, “therefore we cannot comment further on this incident.”

• Incident 2 – On March 14, slightly before 2 p.m., there was an unruly student in the hallways of Slater, prompting the school to get the police involved and restrain the student.  

“The incident was handled without any escalation or disturbance to the school,” read the statement. “Due to confidentiality reasons, we cannot comment any further on this incident.”

• Incident 3 – The same day, at around 2:23 p.m., the bell for dismissal was inadvertently rung 12 minutes early when a staff member was in the process of using the intercom. The school administration made the decision to hold students inside school and have a formal dismissal.

“As a result of the confusion that ensued, four students took advantage of the situation and engaged in an altercation with another student,” stated the release. “This unrelated incident is being investigated by the School Department in conjunction with the school resource officer and Pawtucket police.”

On the misinformation officials said was being circulated online:

• There were never any incidents involving weapons at Slater. “At no point were students in any danger and our staff handled these incidents in a professional, efficient and courteous manner,” they said.

• The contents of the fight video being circulated are being investigated. Because it’s under investigation by school staff and police, no one will comment on it further.

As an extra precaution and for the comfort of students and families, school administrators and police offered an increased presence last Friday.

“Our main priority will continue to be fostering a safe environment for our students to learn,” they said.