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Fight at Cuero High leads to student's arrest

By Sonny Long
May 18, 2011 at 12:18 a.m.


SCHOOL DISTRICT REACTIONCuero school district Superintendent Henry Lind said the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act rules prevent school district personnel from commenting on the incident.

"We will do what the rules tell us to do as far as discipline at the school setting," Lind said. "All disciplinary actions must be reported to the Texas Education Agency in Austin."

A 15-year-old Cuero High School student was arrested last week on suspicion of assault with bodily injury after a fight on school grounds injured another student.

The students, both girls, got into the confrontation on May 11. The victim, also 15, suffered injuries to her head, face, cheek and jaw, according to a report from the Cuero Police Department.

The victim told police that during a verbal confrontation, she was "hit on the side of her face" and her head was "shoved into the wall." She also stated she was kicked and hit after being thrown to the ground.

The student accused of assault said she acted in self-defense, according to the police report.

The investigating officer, after interviewing both students, other witnesses and viewing the school's surveillance video, noted in the report that, "This was not a mutual combat situation. The victim was not aware the assault was about to take place, nor was she able to leave and seek help, much less defend herself. This attack was assaultive in nature."

The attacker was arrested and taken to the Victoria Juvenile Detention Center.

On May 13, DeWitt County Judge Daryl Fowler ordered the student who had been arrested be released to her parents.

"I am limited in what I may reveal or discuss in juvenile matters," Fowler said.

The county judge said that, typically, there are four distinct phases of the juvenile justice process when a child is accused of having engaged in delinquent conduct or is considered to be a child in need of supervision.

The first phase is a detention hearing, which must occur within 48 hours of the apprehension of a child. This is a hearing to determine whether probable cause exists that the child committed an offense and should remain in custody pending a trial.

The decision to detain or release solely rests on the juvenile judge and his application of the law, Fowler said.

The county judge added that the second hearing typically is the adjudication hearing and it is the initial phase of a juvenile trial to determine innocence or guilt.

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