POCATELLO — Five local high school students are facing multiple misdemeanor charges after they attacked a vice principal and a parent who tried to defend her during a dispute over a non-motorized scooter outside of Pocatello High School last week, according to the Pocatello Police Department.
Two male New Horizon High School students and three male Pocatello High School students are facing a variety of charges because of the incident, police said.
New Horizon is Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25’s alternative high school.
The incident involved Pocatello High School Vice Principal Heidi Graham, the parent of a student not involved in the altercation and a total of six high school students.
The only individuals charged by police were the five students who police described as the aggressors in the altercation.
The sixth high school student involved was not charged because he tried to render aid to the parent and Graham, police said.
Pocatello police investigated the Sept. 24 incident and are not releasing any of the students’ names or ages because they are all under the age of 18. Police are also not releasing the name of the parent who intervened.
The incident began to unfold around 3:45 p.m. on Sept. 24 when Graham observed one student riding a non-motorized scooter around a large group of students near the bus stop behind Pocatello High School, police said. Riding bicycles, skateboards or scooters is prohibited during school hours at many School District 25 schools including Pocatello High.
Graham was outside the school watching students as they entered and exited school buses after receiving reports that students were attempting to climb on top of Pocatello High School, police said.
The student riding the scooter did not own it. He and the scooter’s owner, both New Horizon High School students, had arrived at Pocatello High School from New Horizon earlier via school bus, police said. Graham initially asked the student not to ride the scooter on school property so as to not put himself or other students at risk of injury, police said.
The student stopped riding momentarily but Graham again observed the student on the scooter a short time later and this time she confiscated the scooter from the student, according to police. After Graham took the scooter, the student who was riding the scooter and the student who owned it approached Graham and demanded that she give it back, said police, adding that when Graham refused, the two students began cursing and yelling at Graham.
After taking the scooter, Graham began to walk away and the two students continued to follow her, again yelling and cursing at her to give the scooter back. The owner of the scooter attempted to take the scooter from Graham but she did not let go, police said.
Seeing the altercation, a parent of a student not involved in the incident stood between Graham and the two students, using his body as a barrier, police said. The two students continued to yell at Graham and eventually walked away, police said.
As the parent continued to stand next to Graham, three Pocatello High School students approached them, with two students approaching from the front and one student approaching from behind, police said.
The two New Horizon students from earlier then joined the two Pocatello High School students who were approaching Graham and the parent from the front, police said.
The Pocatello High student who was approaching from behind Graham and the parent then grabbed hold of the scooter and attempted to rip it from her grasp, police said. The student pulled on the scooter hard enough that Pocatello police visibly saw Graham shake back and forth during their review of Pocatello High School security camera footage of the incident, police said.
The parent then grabbed the Pocatello High School student who was trying to grab the scooter from Graham, police said. The other two Pocatello High School students then started attacking the parent, which caused the entire group to fall onto the ground.
At this point, the Pocatello High School student who was not charged grabbed one of the other Pocatello High School students and pulled him off of the parent.
This Good Samaritan student was then punched in the face by the student he had pulled off the parent, police said.
The attacking students and their victims eventually regained their footing and the parent continued to defend Graham, police said.
The five attackers eventually ran away from the scene, police said.
Police later identified the students involved via conversations with Graham and by reviewing the Pocatello High School security camera footage.
The five students were criminally charged after police discussed the case with a Bannock County juvenile court judge, police said. The five students have not been incarcerated pending the adjudication of their cases.
The student originally riding the scooter and the owner of the scooter, both New Horizon students, are each facing charges of disorderly conduct and accessory to battery, police said. The Pocatello High student who ran behind Graham and attempted to rip the scooter from her hands is facing charges of disorderly conduct and battery and the other two Pocatello High students who attacked the parent, one of whom punched the Good Samaritan student, are each facing charges of battery, accessory to battery and disorderly conduct, police said.
The maximum penalty for each charge — battery, accessory to battery and disorderly conduct — is up to six months of incarceration and up to $1,000 in fines.
Three of the students are each facing up to one year in a juvenile detention facility and up to $2,000 in fines and the two other students are each facing up to 18 months in a juvenile detention facility and up to $3,000 in fines if convicted.
No one was seriously injured during the altercation, police said.
School District 25 issued the following statement about the incident: “At Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25, we take our obligation very seriously to provide every learner and every staff member the safest possible environment in which they can learn, teach and work. While the district is legally prohibited from speaking to any specific allegations, incidents or disciplinary actions, our administration will continue to work with our local law enforcement partners as they complete their investigation.”