Lanier County School Stabbing Update

By Ben Wolf
Friday, February 16, 2007

The attorney for 17-year-old Sarita Marie Cervantes says the violence at school could have been completely avoided.

Cervantes is accused of slashing a teacher's hand with a knife as that teacher tried to break up a fight between Cervantes and another student.

The attorney claims the 17-year-old confided with a guidance counselor before the fight, saying she was having trouble with another student.

Lanier County school officials are not confirming or denying that conversation took place. Cervantes’ lawyer describes what was going through his client's mind leading up to the fight.

"Tells the counselor I'm scared of this girl, she's a mean girl. I'm scared of her; please do something about this. She just didn't feel satisfied that someone was going to protect her, so she was going to protect herself," said attorney Paul W. Hamilton.

The Lanier County sheriff says the school resource officer kept the case to himself. The sheriff would have preferred he did not, enabling his office to pursue the case. The sheriff says his office will not pursue the case now because of crime scene contamination.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Hagler says there are so many disagreements between students on a daily basis that school staff can't react to every problem as life threatening.