National Post

April 18, 2002

14-year-old girl is charged after Toronto principal stabbed in back

Joseph Brean
National Post, with files from Global News

Global News
Heather DeGraaf, the principal of D.A. Morrison Junior High School who was stabbed by a student after breaking up a fight yesterday, is taken to hospital, where she was listed in stable condition last night.

A school principal was stabbed in the back after breaking up a fight at an east-end Toronto junior high school yesterday and a 14-year-old student was charged with aggravated assault.

Heather DeGraaf was listed in stable condition last night at Sunnybrook hospital with a 10-centimetre stab wound to her back, police said. Ms. DeGraaf broke up a fight between two female students at D.A. Morrison Junior High School, on Gledhill Ave., then got into an argument with one of them.

Investigators said she was then stabbed from behind with what they believe was a letter opener.

Police said that Ms. DeGraaf's wound did not appear to be life-threatening.

"Ms. DeGraaf is going to be all right," said Peter Paulseth, a vice-principal at the school.

Students were in tears as they watched their principal being taken away on a stretcher.

The 14-year-old girl's arrest comes amid a spate of incidents of female bullying across the country. This month, a 14-year-old Halifax boy shot himself, apparently after being threatened and extorted by a gang led by a teenage girl.

Last month, a B.C. girl was convicted of criminal harassment after her schoolmate, Dawn-Marie Wesley, 14, hanged herself to end verbal torments by a group of girls.

D.A. Morrison, which has a student population of 555, backs on to a ravine in a quiet, middle-class neighbourhood.

Yesterday's stabbing was the second at the school in six months. Last November, a 14-year-old boy was arrested after a 12-year-old girl was attacked inside the girl's washroom.

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