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Principal: 'extra step' not taken before stabbing

Posted by Martin Finucane March 28, 2007 09:07 AM

LINCOLN/SUDBURY

The principal and superintendent of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School said yesterday that school personnel who confiscated weapons last year from a sophomore accused of stabbing another student to death in January should have taken an additional step to report it to authorities.

John M. Ritchie told the school board in a meeting last night that he didn't think that there was "flagrant neglect, disregard for the welfare of the school, or irresponsible ignoring of school policy."

Still, he said, "Some additional effort had to be made that wasn't made to determine whether this was a pattern, to call it to someone's attention, to determine whether it was completely innocent."

"That was where people did not execute reasonable expectation on my part," Ritchie said. "I think that in a school setting with safety being of paramount concern to us, an extra step had to be taken."

Ritchie did not single out any school staff, and he declined to say whether disciplinary action would be taken, citing confidentiality.

John Odgren, 16, has been arraigned on first-degree murder charges in the death of James Alenson, 15. On Monday, a state-hired psychologist testified in court that Odgren is competent to stand trial.

The Globe has previously reported that Odgren showed a pocketknife and a toy gun to a psychologist on two different occasions last year.

In both instances, the psychologist confiscated the weapons and then gave them back to Odgren on the same day, according to Sudbury Police Chief Peter Fadgen.

Ritchie has said he was not told of either incident, but Fadgen has said the psychologist did report the information to his supervisor.

Ritchie has said the psychologist was employed by the Concord Area Special Education Collaborative, a separate program that placed him at Lincoln-Sudbury. Odgren was technically a student in that program.

-- Kristen Green

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