A Fairfax High School student has been charged with malicious wounding after the stabbing on Friday of a 16-year-old classmate in the stomach in a driver education classroom, Fairfax City police said yesterday. The incident occurred at 1:30 p.m., a half-hour before classes ended.

Delores Bohen, assistant superintendent for Fairfax County schools, said last night that the stabbing occurred at the end of the driver education class as the students were filing out of the room. She said she believed that the weapon was a pencil.

"The two boys got into a scuffle and one kid stabbed another," she said. "My information is is that the other kids realized there was some pushing and shoving going on, but it happened so fast nobody saw it."

The identities of the youths were withheld because they are juveniles, and police said they did not know the age of the alleged assailant.

Police said the victim was initially taken to Commonwealth Hospital and then to Fairfax Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was reported in satisfactory condition yesterday.

Laura I. McDowall, a Fairfax County School Board member whose Annandale district includes the city's high school, said yesterday that such incidents are "very rare. We have strict rules about what kids can bring into the school. They're not to bring anything that is considered a weapon -- a knife or something which might explode."

McDowall said the accused assailant could face county school disciplinary procedures independent from the charges lodged by the Police Department. Possible punishments range from expulsion from the school system, the most severe disciplinary measure, to in-school or out-of-school temporary suspensions.

An in-school suspension would result in the isolation of the student in a classroom by himself during the school day. An out-of-school suspension would bar him from attending school for a certain time.