CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- One day after a Manchester High School student was arrested for attacking a classmate with a knife in the school's band room, the school's principal said he was left with a "hurt heart" and "many questions for which we have no answers."
"The first of which is why would someone attack a student who I believe is one of the nicest, kindest, most mannerly individuals I know. And what would possess an individual who was very strong academically and never a discipline problem at school to commit such an extreme action. The incident has left many of us confused, and understandably so," Manchester principal Mr. Peter Koste told students Tuesday.
Koste said he visited with the injured student and his parents Monday night and was told doctors believed the teenager would be okay.
The principal explained to students why they were kept locked down in class several hours despite the fact the knife attack was brought under control in just a few minutes.
"My heart also goes out to all of you because you had to remain in your classes for an extended period of time without really knowing why," he said. "While it might help allay your fears if we would give regular updates to you with specifics, that is not the proper protocol. The information we release, with good reason, must contain very little detail, especially when an investigation is in progress. Also, the police department had to process the scene, and unlike television everything cannot be completed in one hour, including commercials. Until the scene was processed we had to keep the school on lockdown. This was not easy on any of you but you handled it all very well."
Koste asked students to be kind and respectful of others.
"We all have faults and we struggle with them every day, to pick on someone’s faults is cruel and unnecessary," he said. "We all have many positive attributes and we need to find those in others and give praise for them."
He added how proud he was of the way the school handled Monday's situation offered help to students and staff directly impacted by what they saw in the band room or those overcome with emotion related to the event.
"Students who feel the need to talk, we ask that you see your teacher for a pass to the library [to speak with support personnel] . Our teachers will comply with your request," he said. "I love you guys, let’s all stay strong and move forward together."
Chesterfield Police arrested a 17-year-old Manchester student in connection to Monday's assault. He was charged with aggravated malicious wounding and was taken to the Chesterfield County Juvenile Detention Home.