Toronto Sun

Thursday, April 18, 2002


School boss rushed to hospital - student, 14, charged


 A well-respected junior high school principal was in surgery to have a letter opener removed from her back last night after being stabbed, allegedly by a student she was disciplining.

Police believe principal Heather De Graaf was attacked while she was talking to a girl in her teens about a schoolyard fight just before 4 p.m. yesterday at D.A. Morrison Junior High School, near Danforth and Woodbine Aves.

"That's what we're looking at," said Toronto Police 54 Division Staff-Sgt. Chris Fernandes.

"The second incident took place while she was being spoken to in the principal's office about the first one."

De Graaf is well-liked among her peers and students, said Beaches-East York school trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher.

"She's such an amazing principal, very fair and honest," said Cary-Meagher. "I just saw her this morning at a principals' meeting. This is terrible."

De Graaf, who police say is in her 50s, was rushed to Sunnybrook hospital with the letter opener still stuck in her back.

The principal was having surgery to mend the 7-cm non-life threatening wound last night.

The teen is charged with aggravated assault in connection with the teacher, and assault involving the other student.

She cannot be identified under the Young Offenders Act.


Another teen girl involved in the earlier schoolyard fight was treated for minor injuries at Toronto East General Hospital.

Cary-Meagher says this incident could have a ripple effect across the entire city.

"If we had more staff in schools, they wouldn't be the pressure cookers they are," she said. "This is the sort of thing that drives people away from what they're good at. This will have ramifications in every school."

This is the second stabbing at D.A. Morrison school on Gledhill Ave. in the last six months.

A 12-year-old girl was stabbed in the girls' bathroom last November.

Police locked down the school and called the Emergency Task Force to hunt for the attacker. A 14-year-old suspect was later arrested at his home.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault charges in February.

Copyright © 2002, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc.