Globe and Mail

Girl, 14, pleads guilty to three assaults at school

By JANE GADD
COURTS REPORTER
Saturday, November 23, 2002 – Print Edition, Page A29
The Globe and Mail

Raging hormones fuelled a 14-year-old girl's violent rampage at an East York school, where she beat another girl, bit one teacher, spit on another, and plunged a 23-centimetre letter opener into the principal's back, a court heard yesterday.

The girl, who cannot be identified under young-offender laws, was suffering from premenstrual dysphoric syndrome when she stabbed principal Heather de Graaf at D.A. Morrison Junior High School, her lawyer said.

Ms. de Graaf was taken to hospital minutes after the April 17 attack with the letter opener still protruding from her back. She has suffered "devastating" consequences to her career and personal life, Youth Court Judge Brian Weagant was told.

Teacher Robert Fulford was taken to hospital for treatment of a bite on his arm and was released. The student victim, another 14-year-old girl, suffered a sprained hand.

Crown prosecutor Frank Moskoff withdrew a charge of assault relating to teacher Richard Wingfield, on whom the girl spat after calling him "a fucking faggot."

The tall, strongly built 14-year-old sobbed and was supported by her parents in court yesterday after pleading guilty to aggravated assault on Ms. de Graaf, and assault on Mr. Fulford and the student.

Sentencing was postponed until January to allow time for medical and psychological assessments.

Defence lawyer Brian Scully told Judge Weagant that since puberty, his client has suffered from severe premenstrual symptoms caused by a hormone imbalance. She was taking medication for the condition at the time of the attacks.

According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, the rampage began when the defendant confronted another girl in class and called her a bitch.

Later, she pushed the girl against a wall, accused her of telling people about the "bitch" comment, knocked her to the ground and started kicking her.

Mr. Fulford was bitten as he tried to separate the girls.

Later in the principal's office, the girl grabbed a letter opener and plunged it into Ms. de Graaf's back.

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