A 14-year-old has been charged with fatally stabbing a student and injuring another after a fight turned deadly at Southeast Raleigh High School on Monday morning.
Classes at the school have been canceled Tuesday.
The stabbing incident, which was captured on video, occurred in the gym, officials said. A school resource officer radioed for help at 11:01 a.m. after a juvenile was stabbed during an altercation involving other students.
Raleigh Police announced a secure custody order for a 14-year-old male juvenile suspect who was charged with murder on a juvenile petition. Police Chief Estella Patterson did not confirm whether the suspect attends the school.
The name of the 15-year-old student who died after being taken to a local hospital has not been released.
The second student, a 16-year-old, remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Patterson said.
“I want to share my condolences,” Wake County Superintendent Robert Taylor said during a news conference with Patterson. “As a parent, I can’t imagine getting that call. I just cannot imagine that.”
“I offer my prayers to those affected,” he continued. “However, most importantly, I pledge my resolve; schools should be a safe haven for students and staff. In the aftermath of today’s tragedy, we will review all of our safety processes and protocols.”
In a message posted on the school’s website, Southeast Raleigh High said a Code Red lockdown was in effect while law enforcement investigated. Both the Raleigh Police Department and the high school urged people to stay away from the school on Rock Quarry Road.
In a Code Red lockdown, the entire building is locked. No one may enter or leave until police issue an all-clear announcement.
‘It’s really, really sad’
Parents who wanted to pick up their children from school were told to go to Walnut Creek Amphitheater Lot D. Buses brought students to the lot to reunite with their parents.
Nikki Pendleton was among dozens of parents waiting there for students to be dismissed Monday afternoon.
She said a video of the stabbing was gruesome. Clips posted on social media by multiple students appear to show the fight spilling into the gymnasium, where a knife is visible.
Pendleton said she was going to give her 17-year-old son a big hug when she saw him.
“He’s hanging in there as much as he can,” she told The News & Observer. “It’s very hard. When you send your children to school you want them to go learn. You don’t want things like this to happen.”
“But there are lots of families that are going to be going through this for a while,” she said.
Larry Cozart also planned to give his child a big hug. Cozart said he’ll try to get his 16-year-old daughter into another school next school year.
“It’s the craziest thing I have ever heard in my life,” Cozart said in an interview. “It’s got so that you can’t send your child to school, and it’s really, really sad.”
Cozart said he couldn’t believe a student had died at school.
“Things are changing,” Cozart said. “When we went to school, there was nothing happening like that. But these parents ain’t got control of their kids.”
‘What happened today is unacceptable’
The school will be closed Tuesday “to provide us the time and space to process today’s events,” Principal George Harden said on Southeast Raleigh High’s website.
“While student privacy laws prevent me from sharing specific information about the victim, please know that the student who passed away was a valued member of our school community, and we grieve this loss alongside his loved ones,” he said.
Parents whose children need support Tuesday can call the front office at 919-856-2800. Someone will pick up even though classes are canceled. Members of the school system’s crisis team and Employee Support and Wellness team will also be available to support students and staff members.
“Today we lost a student, and another student was severely injured,” Harden said. “What happened today is unacceptable, and our team will review everything that occurred and take action to ensure our school is a place where students can learn, grow and thrive.”