Local News

Student stabbed at Northern High in Durham

Posted March 24, 2011
Updated April 7, 2011

— A Northern High School student was arrested March 24 following a stabbing at school, Durham Public Schools officials said.

Eric Tyrone Prince Jr., 16, of 625 Martin St., was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and having a weapon on school grounds, officials said.

The stabbing happened in a hallway at Northern High before classes started, school district spokesman Jeff Nash said.

The victim, Jonathan Newell, 17, was stabbed in the upper torso, officials said. He was taken to a local hospital and underwent surgery. 

Prince was released on a $5,000 bond. 

Newell's parents believe the bond should have been much higher. 

"My son was stabbed in the stomach and in the privates and blood was everywhere," Newell's mother, Kenya Newell, said. 

Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey told WRAL News the recommended bond amount for this type of charge is usually $30,000.

Morey said they are looking into Prince's bond, but notes any amount is up to an individual magistrate.

Parents of stabbing victim angry over bond Parents of stabbing victim angry over bond

School district spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte said parents of Northern High students were notified of the incident by the district's calling system.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office increased security at the school the morning of the shooting, but Principal John Colclough insisted that the school is safe.

"This was an isolated incident as far as we can tell," Colclough said. "As far as fights going on at Northern, yes, there have been some in the past few weeks. Nothing anywhere near the seriousness of this, but this was an isolated incident as far we can tell.”

Northern High accounted for nearly one-fifth of the 284 crimes and acts of violence reported in Durham schools in the 2009-10 school year, according to figures from the state Department of Public Instruction.

Forty-two of the 56 incidents reported at Northern High were drug-related, while nine involved possession of a firearm or some other weapon, state figures show. There also was a sexual assault at the school and three other assaults.

"(Students) are safe," Colclough said. "We are continuing the same security measures we have always done, with a heightened number of officers there today, and I think that’s done more to just increase the feel of security for our students."

Northern High randomly uses metal detectors at its doors and runs other security screens, he said.

The stabbing left some parents shaken.

"I can't understand why there's so much violence at this school," said Deborah Belk, the parent of a junior. "My concern is the next elevation is weapons – some form of automatic or semiautomatic weapons. That's scary because bullets don't have eyes (and) they don't have names."

"It's supposed to be a safe learning environment," said Angela Bryant, the parent of a freshman. "I'm definitely concerned."

Coincidentally, March 24 was Colclough's last day at Northern High. He was assigned in January to take over at Sandy Ridge Elementary School.

The Durham County Board of Education named Katheryn Bonner as the new principal of Northern High that night. Bonner was previously an assistant principal at the school. 


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  • alexwalker Apr 14, 2011

    Now, besides all of that, I felt that this article was poorly written for the most part. Of COURSE Northern accounts for one fifth of the crimes/violence in Durham schools! There are five (normal) high schools in Durham Public Schools, and the author made it sound like Northern was a bad school, when in actuality (as they stated), most of Northern's violations are drug related. Drugs are a LOT better than weapons, and Riverside, which is the school most often compared to Northern as being the "better" school, has DOUBLE the weapon violations! WRAL also didn't post anything about the kid at Jordan last week who had a large amount of weed, vodka, firearms with him on school grounds. The news is supposed to at least ATTEMPT to be unbiased, instead of furthering a false reputation about a school.

  • alexwalker Apr 14, 2011

    The best thing is to NOT shelter your child against this, because honestly, if you were at NHS, you would know how little of a deal this was to the students. Even teachers weren't very affected. Mr. Colcough (especially him, seeing as the stabbing happened on his LAST day as NHS principal) and the public school system as a whole are also not to blame. Students that are not in school for getting an education, the students who are technically failing grade levels but getting passed anyways are the issue. You can take the kid out of the bad school but you can't take the bad behavior out of the kid. This starts at home. People said Northern used to be one of the best schools. Little River used to be one of the best elementary schools as well, but then they started bussing in kids and now Little River has gone downhill.

  • alexwalker Apr 14, 2011

    As a CURRENT student at NHS, I can say that I, along with the majority of students did NOT feel in danger at all. It may sound bad, but we are almost desensitized to issues such as this. I got to school that morning and immediately heard that somebody got stabbed, but this didn't disrupt our day. I don't know of any [normal] person that called home scared, asking their parents to take them home. Our safety was not at risk. Tension at Northern has been high lately, but we knew that this wasn't a random stabbing--it was premeditated. He brought that knife to school with ONE person on his mind. Nobody else was in direct danger. We're USED to this. There is no danger for your children in high school or middle school--this doesn't "start" in high school. Issues like this start at HOME. If the PARENTS were doing their job, this wouldn't happen.

  • carly95baker Mar 25, 2011

    Northern really isnt a bad school i currently attend northern and the day of the stabbing i did not feel unsafe. i have never been threatened

  • shortcake53 Mar 25, 2011

    Those who are crying that he is being held accountable as an adult, because they say he is "just a child", GET REAL. He STABBED ANOTHER PERSON. This is not childlike. He thought he was man enough to go after someone, then be man enough to take your punishment. I am sooo sick of these "tough guy wanna-bes" acting like they can do whatever, then crying like babies when they are caught. And those who want to coddle them are just as bad. This makes me sick.

  • Avenger Mar 25, 2011

    Northern used to be one of the best in the state. I was a law enforcement officer in the Durham area for years.

    Until the politics change the children will not change. We didn't get there over night we will not get out over night, but we have to start some where. Durham is no worst than any other right now, just gets bad publicity.

  • theechriswhite Mar 25, 2011

    I am a recent graduate of NHS (2010) and I NEVER had an instance where I felt unsafe at the school. I believe this was a poorly written and reported story. The stats presented about NHS should've been compared to other schools in the district. Plus, the stats on "drug-related crimes" and "sexual assaults" were irrelevant to the story. This was neither of those two crimes. I'm really tired of Northern making headline news everytime something happens.

    It is important to inform the community when something like this happens don't get me wrong; but why not do the same for Riverside or other schools? You can not just single out Northern like it is the only school this happens to. I am very disappointed in how this story was reported.

  • Duke00978 Mar 24, 2011

    Coincidentally, I attended Voyager for middle school, and was a part of the first graduating middle school class. As much as I enjoyed Voyager, I would not return to go to High School if I had the choice.

  • redoit2000 Mar 24, 2011

    Well now that Voyager Academy charter school has opened a new high school, we will see the best students at both Riverside and Northern leaving to attend Voyager. That will hurt both schools.

  • killing_me_softly Mar 24, 2011

    YOU must give the teachers and NEA more money. That's the only way to combat this.
    March 24, 2011 1:44 p.m.
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    Certainly not the solution. Are you serious? You can't be.