Local News

Student stabbed at Northern High in Durham

Posted March 24, 2011 9:28 a.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2011 8:08 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.