Police cars are seen on West Potomac’s campus after an administrator and police officer were allegedly assaulted by a student. (Submitted picture)
A 16-year-old West Potomac High School student is facing charges after allegedly assaulting an assistant principal and a police officer shortly after a pep rally at the school this afternoon.
The melee drew a large police response to the school after the officer, the school’s resource officer, called for backup. According to a police press release, the situation was serious enough that at one point the officer needed to pull out his Electronic Control Weapon– commonly referred to as a taser — after a large crowd of approximately 100 students surrounded him while he was trying to subdue the student. The officer did not use the taser, police said.
The incident began when the assistant principal and the officer approached the student in the hallway shortly after the pep rally, police said. The student was confronted by the pair about being involved in unspecified “illegal activity,” and the student then allegedly assaulted the assistant principal, police said. The resource officer then attempted to take the student into custody, but the student allegedly resisted and a struggle ensued during which both the student and officer went to the ground, according to police.
While on the ground, the officer felt threatened by the crowd of students, which did not respond to his commands to back away, according to police. At that point the officer took out his taser to help control the crowd, police said.
Eventually the officer and school staff were able to pull the student into a locker room, and other officers helped to disperse the crowd, police said.
The student suffered a cut during incident, police said. The officer was unhurt. It’s unclear if the assistant principal was injured.
Police say the student was taken to the county’s Juvenile Detention Center and faces charges of assault on law enforcement officer, assault on a school official, and disorderly conduct.
West Potomac principal Tangy Millard sent an email to parents after the incident, saying the investigation into it was ongoing. She also asked parents for support in maintaining “a positive learning environment,”, and said the incident should not take away from the school’s upcoming homecoming weekend events, including a football game Friday night and dance on Saturday.
“Our students truly had a great time at the rally and during its entirety there were all well behaved and positive; enjoying the rally,” Millard wrote. “I am confident that our community will continue with a festive environment for our game and dance this weekend. Please do not allow this incident to be a reflection in anyway of the majority of our students, who are amazing!”