Assault in boys’ bathroom prompts safety measures

A serious assault involving two TPHS students occurred in the boys’ bathroom outside the B building on Feb. 8, leaving one student with serious injuries to his teeth, according to Principal Rob Coppo and San Diego Police Department Sgt. Sal Hurtado.

Ronald Schneider, the student who sustained injuries to the teeth, said he was struck approximately nine times in the altercation, with the first hit coming when his back was turned to the other student. He confirmed that his two front teeth were pushed in, his ears sustained cuts and his AirPods were broken.

A video, verified as the altercation by Schneider and another witness, shows a student repeatedly hitting Schenider in the head with a closed fist and kicking Schneider in the leg once. Schneider said that throughout the entire altercation, he did not attempt to strike back. The other party could not be reached for comment.

Following the incident, which happened during a passing period, law enforcement arrived on campus and a police incident report was taken, according to Coppo. Schneider left campus to receive medical care, Schneider said.

A felony crime report was later filed by Schneider and his parents at the SDPD Northwestern Division Substation, according to Hurtado. Both TPHS and the SDPD immediately launched independent investigations into the incident. The specifics of the investigations are sealed to protect student privacy.

Schneider said that he has since transferred to Sunset High School. The other party is no longer enrolled at TPHS.

The incident, along with other “serious issues” in bathrooms, such as vaping, prompted an email from Coppo to TPHS staff on Feb. 9, which gave teachers specific directives to limit the number of students outside of class during class time. Among other things, teachers are now required to keep a restroom log and only excuse one student at a time to the restroom.

Substitute teachers, who may not be as aware of school rules, according to Coppo, have also been provided with a similar set of instructions.

As an immediate change, campus supervision is now more focused on restrooms and restroom doors are left open at all times during the school day, which deters students from participating in violent or unwanted behavior, according to campus supervisor Jose Reynoso and Coppo.

“Having that door open creates less privacy, which is a good thing,” Coppo said. “[The bathroom] is not so much a hideout.”

According to Coppo and Reysono, these changes have been working. While he was previously called to the bathrooms multiple times a day to respond to reported misbehavior, Coppo said the frequency of these reports has decreased since Feb. 9.

One longer-term solution to prevent student misbehavior would be to add more campus supervisors to better survey the growing TPHS campus, Coppo and Reynoso said. He hopes to eventually have a total of five campus supervisors.

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