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February was also a bad month for arrests, discipline at John Hopkins

ST. PETERSBURG — John Hopkins Middle School continued to be afflicted by arrests and disciplinary problems in February, according to the latest data released by the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Officers arrested 22 students on campus last month, bringing the total number of arrests this school year to 84.

The numbers show the school's troubles seem to be peaking in 2010. The school also had 22 arrests in January.

All told, arrests at the school jumped 40 percent from September to February compared to the 60 arrests police made all of last school year — and this school year still has three months left.

The school has been beset by students assaulting each other and staff members, authorities say. But in February the officers assigned to help the school also found themselves under assault.

According to St. Petersburg police, here's a recap of February incidents:

• A brawl between a 12-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl was broken up by campus monitors on Feb. 10. But while the boy gave up the fight, the girl wouldn't. A monitor tried to keep her blocked inside a classroom, but she kept trying to push her way past, police said, to re-start the fight.

She didn't stop when an officer arrived, police said, and instead ended up shoving the officer three times and cursing at him. When the officer arrested and handcuffed her on a charge of felony battery on a law enforcement officer, police said, the child told him: "Someone will kill you for touching kids like this."

• An officer waded into the middle of a fight between two girls on Feb. 10, police said, when one of the 12-year-old combatants hit her in the back. The officer used pepper spray to get the girl under control, police said, and arrested her for felony battery on a law enforcement officer.

• The school resource officer was trying to break up a group of boys brawling in front of 300 students on Feb. 11 when he put his hand on the shoulder of a 14-year-old boy while trying to get through the crowd. The boy stepped aside and let him pass by, police said, but then shoved the officer in the back and screamed an obscenity at him. "Don't touch me," the boy yelled, according to police.

The boy was told to get on the ground but ignored the officer. He was then doused with pepper spray and arrested on a felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer. Two 14-year-old boys and a 13-year-old were also arrested for disorderly conduct from the bawl.

• A 14-year-old girl was referred to the State Attorney's Office for prosecution on a charge of possession of marijuana on Feb. 16. She had shown the drug to other students, police said, who turned her in. The drugs were found when the girl emptied out her purse for an officer. She was also suspended for 10 days and taken to the Brookwood Home for Girls, police said.

• A 14-year-old boy was arrested Feb. 18 for felony strong-arm robbery. The boy was accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy off campus, body-slamming him to the ground and stealing his iPod.

If the victim wanted his iPod back, the 14-year-old allegedly said, he would have to fight him for it. Instead, the 14-year-old was arrested on campus.

The new data shows that John Hopkins' disciplinary problems far outweigh what is happening in the city's other middle schools. By comparison, Azaela Middle School has had 37 arrests so far this school year and Bay Point 32.

February was also a bad month for arrests, discipline at John Hopkins 03/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 3:05pm]
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