UDPD Speaks on Middle School Incidents

With two back-to-back middle school incidents, Upper Dublin Police Detective Mike Scarpato, speaks with Patch.

After two incidents at Sandy Run Middle School involving students from St. Mary’s Villa, parents have been concerned about the students and the school.

Upper Dublin Police Detective Mike Scarpato, told Patch that in both incidents, and , did not involve weapons and the school was never on lock down at any point.

The incident on Thursday involved two female students who were shouting and fighting. The students were removed from the school and will be charged with disorderly conduct for the disruption at the school.

The incident Friday morning involved four students from St. Mary’s and four students from Sandy Run Middle School. Scarpato said the incident is still under investigation, after the investigation charges will be filed.

However, he told Patch that the incident is a hang over from Thursday’s disruption, and when the students met at the school this morning, fighting and shouting ensued.

“It’s a big deal…but not as big a deal as people are making it out to be,” said Scarpato.

There have been three incidents at the middle school since March involving students from St. Mary’s.

Judy May 05, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Clearly, this is a downplay. My child is a student there and has told me of at least 8 incidents in the last few weeks. I don't think the police have all the facts. School has been overlooking things, including physical assaults. Teachers are cursed out in the classrooms. Saying there have only been three incidents since March is a joke. There were more than three in the last 3 days!
justme May 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I agree Judy...as I have a child at the middle school as well and this is being downplayed. chldren are scared, classes are disrupted and this is totally unacceptable. I understand that legally UD is required to take the st. Mary's kids and now that the program at St. Mary's that has kept the disciplinary problem kids is no longer available, they are being put in the public school system without record. There still needs to be something done to protect the kids and to ensure that the educational process is not being disrupted.
Don M May 05, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Another example of 'ready-fire-aim' by our administrators. Yes, St. Mary's has had children in the district for several years with only a few incidents but the increase in new students was preceded with no assessment or preparation and now our children are left with those repercussions. But let's not allow ourselves to think this will end as a criminal matter... there's another kick in the pants for y'all, here's my prediction: $500K in new capital budget request needed to support metal detectors and lock-down controls $750K/year in new budget to support additional security $500K/year in new budget to support more "counseling" for these thugs $100K/year in teacher training about how to work more cooperatively with malcontents like these You see, it's easier to throw money at a problem than actually attack the root cause.
Judy May 06, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Don M, it's attitudes lime yours that will keep us from banding together to solve the issue. Calling children "thugs" is going to put you on the wrong side of the argument. With gross displays of inhumanity such as yours, township residents will split and this will take much longer to solve. And boo hoo, now we township residents have to use budget money to support children who have less than ours. I'm thinking the real thugs amongst us are about to be revealed.
Joe May 06, 2012 at 08:27 PM
@Judy: Don's attitude may be harsh in your view, but it is realistic. We work hard, pay high taxes to live in this township. While this problem does have solutions, at what point do we sacrifice our quality of life and our children's safety with metal detectors and police in the school?? My suggestions to those who have bleeding hearts is to put your $$ where your mouth is and take a couple of these kids into your home and see if you can straighten them out. It's easy to preach to us about what we should do, but why don't you show us by example. You could also send the school district more $$ on your own to cover the addtional costs.
Anon May 07, 2012 at 01:19 PM
My child said the teachers were instructed to lock their classroom doors. Isn't that lock down?
Don M May 07, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Judy, you are right, name calling will not get us anywhere and I retract that term. But I'm at a loss exactly what would adequately describe these offenders who we both agree are creating a REAL, unwarranted risk for our students who expect to receive a quality education in a safe environment. If money alone solved all problems I would be more sympathetic should these proposals be offered. but it doesn't. If money guaranteed safety of our children I would be supportive. But it won't. The fact is that I don't know day to day whether I'm going to see another report of disturbances, violence, threats, and a long list of other horrible scenarios that could put an innocent bystander at risk. And I don't see any viable proposals to adequately address these risks. I am very sympathetic about the conditions these kids must have been raised in to bring them to do what is reported (and not reported as you accurately point out). but economic differences alone are not the cause. Many of our UD friends and neighbors are struggling yet still maintain a steady and positive environment for their children.
ASL May 07, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Well said!!
UpsetUDTaxpayer May 07, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I moved to UD specifically to ensure my child did not have to deal with this type of things in their school. I am proud of the fact, that UD is known for education, great teachers and excellent way of life. If these kids came into UD and were active, productive students most of us would not have a problem with them being here despite the cost. This is NOT the case! Instead of embracing UD's way of life, these kids look at the school as a new opportunity to create havoc and destroy anything and everything in their path. IF WE WANT TO STOP THE ASSAULT ON OUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION, WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER! We need to support OUR Students by actively backing our Teachers, Principal and Superintendent during this trying time! We need to put St. Mary's, Philadelphia School District (where St. Mary's kids are from) and the State Board of Education (who condones this) on notice that this is NOT acceptable and initiate legal action. Enough is enough!
Dana May 08, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Meeting @ SRMS TONIGHT..Tuesday, May8th...6PM in Caf!!!!...Let ALL our voices be heard!!! Come ..ALL is Welcome!
Concerned Resident May 09, 2012 at 12:38 AM
When did this news come out that there was a meeting -- was this just transmitted to all parents with kids at SRMS? So many of us with a vested interest in the future of this district and township are interested -- what was said at the meeting? Agree with many of the above sentiments that to be in this township is a choice many people deliberately made for multiple reasons -- am hopeful the administration takes aggressive leadership to correct the situation in an acceptable manner
JM May 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I agree with you 100%...thanks for posting these comments.
Jane May 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM
yeah we've paid a lot of money to avoid having to admit there are troubled people in this society. We put the walls up, we want them kept up. Typical UD attitude.
Jane May 09, 2012 at 05:08 PM
This "us vs them" attitude in UDT is really sickening. UD is not all it's promoted to be, it's narrow minded and selfish in many ways, thanks for demonstrating that fact. These are PUBLIC schools. St. Mary's is in IN THE DISTRICT. We sholud be trying to help these kids - but since they are not "our" kids, and we all know what THAT means, you just want them to go away. The administration needs help to ACCOMODATE these kids - not turn them into mirrors of you, god forbid.
Bob May 10, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I have lived in the Ambler area for over 40 years and it is distressing and disappointing to read some of the comments posted regarding the kids from St Mary’s. I have been a volunteer at St Mary’s for years, and if some of you knew of the hardships these kids have had to live through and the rejections they have encountered at their young ages, I think your attitudes may be different. Also, the incidents you have heard or read about represent a small percentage of the kids from St Mary’s. If you took the time to really get to know these kids, you may come to realize that they have the same needs, hopes and dreams as your kids. The only real difference is that they have been handed the short end of the stick in life for opportunities, love and caring. We, in these nice suburban neighborhoods, have a lot to be thankful for. Let’s try to remember these things when dealing with those who are not as fortunate as us, especially kids. P.S. This is not one of those comments from “one of those bleeding heart liberals” - I spent 30 years in federal law enforcement and would rather help build young people into responsible, productive adults, rather than imprison them as adults. Bob
tex May 10, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Your child has more "facts" than the police do? I wouldn't be so sure about that...
tex May 10, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Joe--if we all take these kids into our homes, they STILL have to get an education at UDSD. I guess you will just have to run all the kids out of town...
logical thinking May 10, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Bob, no one is suggesting that the kids at st marys havent had horrible lives. the fact remains they are products of their environments and as everyone affiliated with st marys has pointed out, those environments were worst than death. no one is even suggesting that st marys kids should not attend UDS. what parents are upset about is the staff at st marys is failing to identify those children with extreme emotional behavioral issues that result in violent and threatening behavior. dr falconi said herself she was "kicked in the stomach and groin" for simply asking a child to leave one room and go into another. this child should have been identified as a potential physical threat PRIOR to being enrolled into our schools and received the help she needed and the anger management tools and whatever other thereapies available BEFORE putting other people in harms way. also, i take offense to all these people stating we here in UD are privledged and just dont understand. I came from one of these backgrounds myself and worked extremely hard, paid more than my house is worth and pay a ridiculous amount of taxes so that my children are not subjected to this kind of environment. no one ever gave me a pretzel and there are plenty of other people in this township who can say the same so please stop with the "entitled" crap.
justme May 11, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I am wondering if the people who are speaking so supportive of the disruption and chaos that this situation has caused have kids currently in the middle school. We all know that St Mary kids have been in the districts for years, and as far as I can see, all of us have been supportive of that because there was a very good screening mechanism put in place at St. Mary's so that the kids who had severe emotional problems would not be placed in a less restrictive environment, but instead be kept there to educate. It was working fine. Now there is no screening process in place. We are having kids with no records (meaning education and behavior) thrown into the schools. I have a big problem with that. OUr schools are not equipped to deal with what Philadelphia schools and most likely St. Mary's is equipped to deal with....if the principal, teachers and the disciplinarians were unable to address the incidents on Thursday and Friday of last week without calling the police, how would we ever feel that our kids are safe. Without metal detectors and security guards who are trained to deal with these disturbed kids, I am sorry, I do not feel it is a safe environment. Who wants juevenille delinquints in our schools? It may be a small percentage of the kids at St. mary's, then that is the percentage that I want to be out of our schools. All other St. Mary kids who can manage a less restrictive environment are always welcome
John May 12, 2012 at 09:42 PM
My own daughter was involved in several incidents at SRMS like this 2 years ago. One actually where her cell phone was stolen right out of her locker and the girl was on video and they still failed to suspend the girl. Let's not tarnish our fancy suburban school image and keep it all hush hush... Babin is a joke. Even the Philadelphia School district handles problem students better. It's called discipline. This goes MUCH deeper than the school will admit.
John May 12, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Not Babin. I meant Falconi.
SMDH May 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM
How, exactly, is Dr. Falconi a "joke"? PLEASE explain your comment to the public. I wasn't at the meeting but talked to several people who were there and unanimously they said she was the most impressive speaker. She is handling this as well as anyone could. What i've seen, read and heard is that NO ONE in the district is as concerned for the safety and well being of ALL the students at SRMS. She has swiftly suspended and disciplined every student involved in any bad behavior. So please, how is she a "joke"?


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