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Student Slashes Self, 3 Teachers

March 25, 1998

PRINCETON, Texas (AP) _ A high school student slashed three teachers today with a razor blade when they tried to stop him from cutting himself.

The 15-year-old student, finally tackled by two other teachers, was arrested and taken to Columbia Medical Center in nearby McKinney, where the teachers also were being treated. The injuries were not life-threatening.

One student said he heard the boy crying that he wanted to die as he was being restrained by police.

``He was just on the ground yelling, `I want to die, I want to die,‴ said Manuel Velasquez, 17.

Velasquez, a junior, said the boy was a freshman who was a loner. ``He didn’t let people get too close to him.″

School superintendent Frank Garner said the boy was in one of two main hallways of Princeton High School around 8 a.m., just as the bells were ringing for classes to begin, and began cutting himself on the forehead and arms. Garner wasn’t sure whether the boy was attempting suicide or had some other motive.

Math teacher Belinda Selfridge was slashed on the cheek and home economics teacher Melody Witt was slashed on the shoulder as they tried to stop the boy. He then went past them and encountered social studies teacher Coy Stewart, slashing him deeply in the abdomen.

Ms. Witt and Stewart were treated at a hospital and released, and Ms. Selfridge was expected to be released by the end of the day, officials said. The boy remained hospitalized.

``These were not people he had anything against at all,″ Garner said. Classes were not canceled, but students who were upset could talk to a counselor or go home for the day.

Doyle Ives, youth minister at First Baptist Church of Princeton, said the boy has had a history of emotional problems, particularly depression.

``I don’t think he’s a bad kid, but he’s one of these kids who dresses in black all of the time,″ Ives said.

Princeton is a community of 3,200 people 33 miles northeast of Dallas. Garner said the high school has 500 students and 38 teachers.

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