Crime - Sacto 911

Florin High students to serve time for roles in fight that injured principal

Video: Florin High Principal Don Ross speaks at meeting

Florin High Principal Don Ross talks about how the image of the school has been tarnished by the publicity over a lunchtime brawl.
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Florin High Principal Don Ross talks about how the image of the school has been tarnished by the publicity over a lunchtime brawl.

Three Florin High School students arrested following a lunchroom fight in which the school principal was thrown to the ground have admitted to criminal charges and are serving time in juvenile detention.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, in a rare action for a juvenile case, publicly announced disposition of the cases against the teenagers after court proceedings this week. A 13-year-old and two 15-year-old students were arrested following the Oct. 26 incident, which made national news after a student took a cellphone video and posted it to YouTube.

The students were not named because they are juveniles.

High School Principal Don Ross and two other school officials suffered minor injuries in the melee that involved up to 10 students. After trying to restrain a student, Ross was thrown to the floor. Undeterred, he got back up and tried again to prevent the student from fighting.

The video also triggered a minor uproar over the three-day suspension of the student who took the video. The video by Tiana Johnson, 15, aired on “Inside Edition” and landed on several national news media sites, prompting Ross to decry the negative light cast on the school. The school later withdrew the suspension of Johnson, who spoke to The Sacramento Bee last year.

Ross issued a statement a day after the assault, calling the episode “rare and unusual” and touting the “great students and staff” at the campus with 1,500 students. He did not immediately return calls Thursday for comment.

In court this week, one teen admitted to a felony charge of assaulting the principal and one misdemeanor charge of resisting and delaying a law enforcement officer in the performance of his duties, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Another teen admitted felony assault in causing great bodily injury to a school staff member. A third teen admitted making criminal threats against a law enforcement officer and what amounts to misdemeanor assault on a school staff member.

The teens were made wards of Juvenile Court and are serving time in the county’s Youth Detention Facility. Each will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device after being released, prosecutors reported. Each also was ordered to complete a work project and to participate in counseling.

Asked for additional information about the penalties imposed, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said via email that his office could not further discuss the case “due to the confidential nature of the juvenile court system.”

The DA’s Office said in a release that it expects the students will be ordered to pay restitution to the staff member who suffered great bodily injury, an apparent allusion to the principal.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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