Choking incident still under investigation


Craig Police continue to investigate a choking incident at Craig Middle School.

In the school's locker room on Thursday, one male student used a T-shirt to choke another male student until the victim lost consciousness.

"According to the report, it reflects that the victim passed out and fell to the floor," said Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta.

A school resource officer responded to the scene, said Principal Steve Wiersma. The student who choked his classmate was not arrested. Wiersma said he doesn't think the student's intention was as extreme as it sounds, but "we have to act on the results or the potential results of a student's actions."

He alluded to his role as a disciplinarian who will have to decide how to handle the case, but he said he doesn't feel it is appropriate to express his views and judgments publicly.

As far as potential penalties against the student, Wiersma said, "Any knowledge I have about individual students is confidential."

The school's crisis plan includes protocols for notifying parents of certain events that may have an emotional impact on a large number of students. Wiersma said the incident "wasn't deemed traumatic enough in its effect to warrant that."

Wiersma said he could not divulge how the incident started or whether the students were fighting or just roughhousing.

On Friday, police again visited the Craig Middle School after a student stormed out of Wiersma's office yelling profanities. Wiersma and the student nearly got into a scuffle after the student kicked a chair and attempted to grab an office telephone while Wiersma told him to put it down.

The principal ordered the secretary to call police.

By the end of the school day, Wiersma said he was happy to see the weekend after a couple of unusually eventful days.

The two incidents are out of the ordinary, but the officers who patrol schools in Moffat County are a welcome addition and positive fixtures in the school, Wiersma said.

Whether dealing with fights, truancy, theft or behavioral issues, the Craig Police officers who serve as school resource officers are "exceptionally busy people," Vanatta said.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or

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