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Student Who Was Stabbed in Scuffle Is Charged : Ventura: Battery counts are filed against the youth who allegedly started the fight at Buena High School.

April 23, 1993|CARLOS V. LOZANO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Warning that "violence of any nature will not be tolerated on school campuses," Ventura County's top prosecutor filed battery charges Thursday against a Buena High School student who was stabbed in the chest during a fight he allegedly provoked with a classmate.

Jeremy Addison, 18, struck the first blow against a 17-year-old student as the two argued in the school parking lot, according to the results of an investigation by the Ventura Police Department and the district attorney's office. The 17-year-old, whose identity was withheld because of his age, responded by stabbing Addison with a knife and was charged shortly after the incident, investigators said.

"This case is a prime example of why violence of any nature cannot and will not be tolerated on our school campuses," Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury said in a statement issued by his office.

"Once a verbal conflict is escalated to a physical one on a school campus, injury is inevitable and everyone is at risk," Bradbury said. "As district attorney, I will do my part to secure schools by vigorously prosecuting those who commit acts of violence on school campuses."

Addison, who suffered a collapsed lung in the Feb. 22 incident but recovered, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

He was charged with one misdemeanor count of battery and one count of battery on school property, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Patricia J. Kelliher, who is handling the case.

The second count is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,000, Kelliher said. The misdemeanor battery charge is punishable by up to six months in jail.

Addison was not arrested but was ordered to appear for arraignment in Ventura County Municipal Court on May 12, Kelliher said. She said the filing of charges was delayed because the investigation took longer than expected.

Charges of assault with a deadly weapon are pending in Juvenile Court against the 17-year-old accused of stabbing Addison.

Joseph Spirito, superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District, said Thursday that Addison was suspended for three days as a result of the incident. Spirito said a group of football players who tackled Addison's assailant and beat him before he fled the scene also were suspended.

Kelliher said the football players will not be charged.

The superintendent said he fully supported the district attorney's action against Addison, but said he did not know if the school district would follow up with any further disciplinary measures against Addison.

"He was already suspended for fighting," Spirito said. "We don't expel students for fighting. We only expel students for bringing weapons to school."

Spirito said the boy who stabbed Addison has been expelled, which means he is prohibited from attending any school in the Ventura district for the rest of the school year.

According to students, the bad blood between Addison and the 17-year-old was well-known on the Buena High campus. Even before the stabbing, "they were already enemies," said Robert Terrones, a senior.

Terrones said the 17-year-old "was really scared" of Addison and carried the knife to protect himself.

Junior Annette de los Santos said the 17-year-old was not a troublemaker.

"He was the perfect kid," she said. "I was shocked when I heard" about the stabbing.

Both students had been suspended previously for fighting, school officials said.

Addison, in an interview from his hospital room following the stabbing, said he had spotted the other boy in the student parking lot and confronted him about their earlier fight.

"I saw him and I went up to him to settle it," Addison was quoted as saying at the time.

But Addison, an honor student and a linebacker on the football team, did not say whether he hit the other boy. Addison said the two had an ongoing feud and that the 17-year-old had occasionally harassed him and his girlfriend.

Prior to Addison's stabbing, the district had already begun to take steps to increase security on its three high school campuses. The district has hired extra campus aides to help supervise students and has set up a 24-hour hot line to receive anonymous tips on students who may be carrying weapons.

District officials are also trying to find the money to hire police counselors to work with high school students.

Times staff writer Jeff Meyers contributed to this story.

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