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Central High student says he was knocked unconscious; police investigate racial motive

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 19. 2013 10:11PM

MANCHESTER — Police and school officials are investigating a reported assault against a 14-year-old Manchester Central High School student who said he was knocked unconscious in a school bathroom last Friday, police said.

Information has surfaced to suggest the attack is a race-based crime, said police Lt. Maureen Tessier. But she stressed there is no indication that racial tensions exist overall at the culturally diverse, center-city high school.

Tessier would not discuss the race of the 14-year-old or that of his suspected attacker or attackers.

"There's still a lot of unanswered questions about what happened to this young man," Tessier said Wednesday.

Central Prinicipal Ronald Mailhot said two assistant principals are helping the school resource officer, Detective Kimberly Barbee, investigate the incident. He said they are somewhat hampered by the time of year.

He and police would not say whether authorities have suspects in the attack.

This is finals week, and seniors are gone from high school. Other students only go to school when they have a final.

Tessier said the 14-year-old went into a bathroom on the third floor of the James Building sometime after 1 p.m. between classes. He was struck in the back of the head, woke up and went to class.

The teacher sent him to the school nurse, where he complained of his head hurting, and he had minor scratches on his face and hands.

He told police someone was in the bathroom when he entered it, but he could not identify the person.

"He cannot offer us a lot of detail of what happened at this point," Tessier said.

He was later treated at a local hospital and his injuries were not serious, police said. Tessier said the investigation is active, and anyone with information should contact the police.

Tessier said such an incident is rare for the school.

Mailhot would not provide details about the assault, but said the incident did not appear to involve mutual combat.

The principal said he's spoken to the teen's parents, and school officials are taking the matter seriously.

Mailhot said at most times, students walk away from fights. But when they do not, both participants can be subject to discipline under the school's conduct code.

Most involve boyfriend/girlfriend situations, and often students admit their roles in the conflict.

"Most of the time," he said, "we get to the bottom of it."

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