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Utica superintendent: ‘If you see something, say something’

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 11/2/22

Following a stabbing incident Monday at Proctor High School, acting Superintendent Brian Nolan wants students to remember that if they see something, they should say something.

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Utica superintendent: ‘If you see something, say something’


UTICA — Following a stabbing incident Monday at Proctor High School, Utica City School District acting Superintendent Brian Nolan wants students to remember that if they see something, they should say something.

“This was preventable,” Nolan said Tuesday. “There were students who were aware of it. I want them to know they can say something without fear of repercussions.”

Nolan said the investigation was continuing but it appeared the stabbing was an isolated incident and there is “no threat to the school.” The victim received superficial cuts to his shoulders and hands and was treated and released from the hospital. That student was asked to take some time off from attending school as the investigation progresses, Nolan said.

The assault was videoed — and then shared with other students — by a student who appeared to know it was about to take place, given the entire incident from the beginning was captured on the video.

The video shows a 17-year-old male student attacking an 18-year-old male student from behind in the first floor hallway, with students surrounding them. There were soon shouts that the perpetrator had a knife as well as shouting for security to come.

Nolan said the perpetrator has changed the story of how the knife got into the building a few times, but they know the student had arrived on time that morning, walking through the single point of entry and the safety system there. It is possible the knife was in a backpack, Nolan said, and not found at the time.

That security mechanism — which, unlike a metal detector, actually uses a camera to identify concealed items — was recalibrated in response to the incident, he said. Nolan declined to elaborate further on specifics of what precautions would be taken at the entrance in consideration of the safety of all students and staff.

Nolan said the 17-year-old student was suspended and arrested. The student who took that video of the assault was also identified and will be facing the full extent of penalties for the violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Nolan could not say exactly what that discipline would be.

Although high school Principal Joshua Gifford was in charge of meeting with the student body, Nolan also visited Proctor Tuesday morning. He said that although attendance was a bit down from expectations for this time of year, students were moving about from classes to classes. There is a crisis intervention team in place in case any students want to talk about the incident, Nolan added.

Students are not allowed to leave campus during the class day for the rest of the week, with Nolan explaining that was meant as a precaution in case any motivation for the incident originated in the community.

Nolan said he felt “awful” for any parents fearing for the safety of their children Monday. He said he wanted to reassure them the district is doing everything it can to make sure all students can feel safe attending their classes.

He also hopes each student feels comfortable reaching out to an adult friend he or she has made during their time at the school, whenever there is a need.

“Please let an adult know,” Nolan said. “Every student has to have at least one person who they feel comfortable talking to about something like this. The students are our best eyes and ears and our best defense against something like this happening again.”

Teen faces attempted assault, weapons possession

The 17-year-old male, whose identity was not released due to his young age, has been charged with attempted assault and weapons possession, according to the Utica Police Department, and will answer his charges in Oneida County Family Court.

Utica police said the teen attacked an 18-year-old male in a first-floor hallway at Proctor High School at about 10:50 a.m. Monday. The younger male stabbed the other student several times with a knife before teachers reached the pair and separated them, disarming the 17-year-old, police stated.

Following an investigation, police said the 17-year-old has been charged with attempted first-degree assault, a class C felony, and fourth-degree possession of a weapon.

The student who was attacked was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries, authorities stated.

The Utica Police Department will maintain a presence on campus through the rest of the week. Proctor High School also changed their status from an open campus to a closed campus for the week, meaning students will not be allowed to leave the building during free periods or lunches.

Sentinel Public Safety reporter Sean I. Mills contributed to this report.


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