As we reported earlier today, an assistant football coach at Rainier Beach High School intervened last Tuesday when four people assaulted a student near the football field (causing the student to suffer "contusions to the head and face" and get briefly knocked unconscious), but the coach—who works for the school district—didn't call 911. Instead, according to police records, the victim went home, where his mother called 911.
But that wasn't the only assault: Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel says today that the same group of four men attacked another student, apparently on school grounds, later that night. "When the student showed up for his class the next morning," Wippel explains, "his teacher noticed he had some injuries and told him to go to the hospital."
Why didn't a school district employee who saw the first attack call police—particularly when the same group of assailants attacked another student later that evening?
"It did not happen on school time," Wippel says. "It did not happen during the course of school events. We certainly [call 911] if there’s a concern about students being in danger. Our understanding is [the assailants] came out for a particular student."
Wippel also points out Seattle Public Schools policy states that "employees are instructed to call police if students are in danger." Because the assailants had dispersed, the football coach deemed that there was no further danger to students, she says. Wippel says that the assaults technically occurred off school grounds in adjacent field operated by the Seattle Parks and Recreation. However, it should be noted that the adjacent fields are on the same larger plot of land as the school, and it's where students recreate during school hours and practice after-school sports.
According to Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Dewey Potter, "The football field is owned by the school."
While the first victim attends Rainier Beach, the second is a student at Interagency Academy, a degree completion school whose students include "many homeless youth or youth-in-transition." (The school allows students to participate in athletics programs at other schools.) One of the four alleged assailants also attends Interagency Academy, and has been linked to both assaults by the school district.
Seattle police have not linked any other filed assault to the first incident.