Four Wakefield High School students were suspended after a fight on the school grounds in which a teacher was knocked down and struck several times before a crowd of about 70 students, according to Arlington police and school officials.
One of the students suspended from the South Arlington school was charged with assault and battery in the incident, according to Sgt. David Tooley of the police Youth Resource Unit. School officials said a fifth student, who did not attend Wakefield, also was involved in the attack.
Tooley said Louis Goffredi, 40, a math teacher, tried to stop a fight between two students outside the school Oct. 19, when he was pushed from behind and "apparently a couple other people in the crowd hit him or kicked him when he was down."
School Superintendent Charles E. Nunley said the four students were suspended for 10 days, the maximum suspension a principal can impose, immediately after the incident. After that, he said, "I authorized the principal to tell them they would not be allowed to return to school because further action was being contemplated."
School administrators made no official announcement of the incident, and initial information about it came from police. "There wasn't any effort not to release it, but by the same token, we weren't anxious to go out and shout it from the rooftops," Nunley said yesterday.
Daniel Brown, director of school-community relations, who investigated the fight, declined yesterday to comment on the incident before the School Board receives a report and recommendation from Nunley, scheduled to be delivered today.
Although conflicting reports made it difficult to determine exactly what happened, Tooley said some witnesses indicated Goffredi may not have been recognized as a teacher when he entered the crowd.
School Board Chairman Gail H. Nuckols said, "We have discussed various courses of action in executive session. At this point, it's too early" to say if any further disciplinary action will be taken against the students, she said.
While principals or the superintendent may recommend expulsion of students, only the School Board can make that decision, Nunley said. He said no students have been expelled from Arlington schools since he became superintendent in 1981.