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Know your students, and know them well, Rota (Spain) High School Principal Douglas McEnry reportedly preached to his staff this week after one of his students hit another student in the back with a baseball bat.

On Monday morning, a senior walked into a classroom, “made a beeline” for the intended victim and struck him in the back with the bat, said Maggie Menzies, a spokeswoman for Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe.

A teacher and another student subdued the bat-wielding student, she said.

The victim was taken to the school nurse, who took him to the hospital, she said. The victim’s back was bruised, but the injury did not appear to be serious, Menzies said.

Two incidents this month — one in Rota and one Naples, Italy — are similar in that the young men were armed with baseball bats. The incidents are coincidental and unrelated, and not indicative of a systemic or growing problem within the school system, Menzies said.

The Rota incident prompted McEnry to visit individual classrooms Monday afternoon to talk to students about anger control and using school resources such as teachers and counselors to deal with it, she said. After school, he met with staff members, reiterating the point of knowing well the student body.

“He told them to know which students have a parent who is deployed, which might be getting a divorce, which student has broken up with his girlfriend,” Menzies said during an interview Thursday. McEnry declined to be interviewed, she said.

On Tuesday, he met with an assembly of students and had school counselors discuss the severity of the incident and talk again of help they can get, she said. He also sent a letter home to parents.

The bat-wielding student, whom officials didn’t identify because of privacy reasons, has been expelled from the school, and Naval Station Rota officials will send him back to the States under the military’s Early Return of Dependent recourse, said Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe. The student is expected to leave Rota by the end of the month, Snyder said.


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