Monticello safety staff responds to incident at RJK on Nov. 7

On the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 7, several Robert J. Kaiser Middle School students were involved in an altercation. The incident initially involved two students who engaged in increasingly threatening behavior first towards each other and then towards staff members. After safety staff’s repeated attempts to verbally deescalate the situation, one of the students became physically aggressive, requiring the safety staff member to place the student in a hold.

This occurred while students were transitioning between periods 7 and 8. While a safety staff member was engaged in the hold, students who were directed not to enter the area proceeded to do so. Staff members quickly gained control over the situation. One safety staff member reported a minor injury. All students involved in the incident were assessed by the school nurses on staff.

“Our staff is routinely trained using the Handle With Care Behavioral Management guidelines which emphasize verbal de-escalation tactics,” Principal Nick Millas said. “Unfortunately, physical holds are necessary when a student is posing an immediate threat to himself or to others. In the rare cases that a student is placed in a physical hold, our staff is taught to do so using methods that minimize the risk of injury to either the staff or student. Student and staff safety is always our top priority.” 

For the remainder of the school day, the school was on a “hold in place,” and  instruction resumed. During the hold in place, students were allowed to leave their classroom if escorted by an adult.

During the incident, a staff member telephoned law enforcement, and the Monticello Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office arrived on site after the altercation was contained by Monticello staff. Law enforcement was not involved in restraining any students.

While the district is unable to disclose any specific disciplinary information, it is working in cooperation with law enforcement to fully investigate the incident and to mete appropriate disciplinary measures.

The incident was unrelated to a reported social media threat and subsequent lockout at the Sullivan West School, which was later found to be “not credible” by investigating agencies.