A 16-year-old Northeast Washington youth was stabbed yesterday by a student at McKinley High School during an argument in a first-floor hallway there, officials reported.

Sean Odom, a former student who was expelled from the school earlier this year for disciplinary problems and who was put out of the school on three occasions yesterday before the stabbing, confronted the student, 15, inside the school cafeteria about 1 p.m., police and school officials said.

The student left the cafeteria and went into a hall near some stairs with Odom in pursuit, officials said. The two argued and the student stabbed Odum in the chest with a pocket knife, according to students and school officials.

Odum was taken from the school at 2nd and T streets NE to the Washington Hospital Center, where he was listed in serious condition. The 15-year-old 11th grader was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

The stabbing stemmed from an ongoing argument between the two over a girl, according to students and the school principal.

Principal Athel Q. Liggins said Odum had been inside the school three times during the day, but each time school officials caught him in the building and escorted him outside. The youth re-entered the building just before the incident occurred, said Liggins, who explained that the school has nearly 50 doors.

Several students yesterday said the stabbing would tarnish the school's image. "It's a dern shame," said Lisa Monroe, a 10th-grader. "Stuff like this usually doesn't happen here . . . It makes the school look bad. McKinley has a lot better to offer than this."

"It really hurts," said Edward Miller, a senior. "The incident that happened at Spingarn and the one today [at McKinley] will change a lot of opinions about the D.C. schools . . . . There's still a lot of good things happening."

Last week, a 16-year-old student at Spingarn High School was killed when a small-caliber pistol that was being passed around by the youth and several friends in a student assembly accidently went off. An 18-year-old student was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting.