Leesburg High School student attacks school resource officer

A Leesburg High School student attacked a school resource officer as a growing number of altercations were reported on campus.

The high school has experienced a number of physical altercations between students, according to the Leesburg Police Department. Several of the students involved in these altercations have been identified as minors with close ties to violent crimes occurring throughout the city of Leesburg and surrounding areas.

On Thursday, while investigating the fights and in an effort to prevent further altercations that were rumored to be imminent, a Leesburg Police Department school resource officer assigned to Leesburg High School met a student who the officer knew was affiliated with the students involved in the altercations. The officer had a good relationship with this student and believed he would be able to talk to him about the issues. As he attempted to speak to the student about the fights and alleged criminal activity on campus, the student became animated and verbally aggressive towards the officer. The officer responded to the student by commenting on the student’s unreported arrest the previous week. The student, who is physically taller than the ORS, reacted to the officer’s comment by charging and swinging his fist at the officer. The officer managed to deflect the blow and redirect the student to the ground. Within a few short moments, the student regained his composure and was helped to his feet by the officer. When he got up, the officer noticed that the student had a small abrasion on his lip and he recommended that the student see the school nurse. The student refused, saying he was fine.

“The officer exercised his discretion, recognizing that not arresting the student was acting in the student’s best interest,” according to a police department press release.

The officer reported the incident to school administration and his direct supervision, and completed an incident report to document what happened.

Knowing that the majority of high school students carry cell phones with video cameras, an effort was made to locate any possible video of the interaction; however, it was determined that there were no other students in the immediate area at the time. Leesburg Police Department officers are not equipped with body cameras at this time.

The police chief, along with the principal of Leesburg High School, held a meeting with a number of community leaders on Friday to encourage an open and productive dialogue on all of these issues.

Martha K. Merrill