School IDs Five Suspects in Teacher Attack

El Cerrito police are continuing to investigate an alleged assault  against a teacher at Portola Middle School Monday and have identified five  different students who were involved, police Sgt. Shawn Maples said today.
Maples said there will "probably be some arrests that will be  made" in connection with the incident, in which a group of male and female  students allegedly threw rocks at the teacher and pushed her to the ground.

Maples said a fight had occurred at the school earlier that day  and the teacher had been assigned to keep students out of a particular  classroom.

When the teacher denied access to a group of students, they  allegedly threw rocks at her, and as a larger group gathered, the teacher was  pushed to the ground, Maples said.

A vice principal at the school witnessed the incident and came to  the teacher's aid. The teacher eventually escaped from the students, Maples  said.

School district spokesman Marin Trujillo said the teacher has been  placed on administrative leave while police and the school district  investigate the incident.

Portola Middle School held a community meeting Tuesday night to  talk to parents about safety, with officials from the Police Department and  the West Contra Costa Unified School District present to answer questions,  Maples said.

The school district agreed Tuesday to provide a school resource  officer at the campus, and the officer was introduced to parents at Tuesday's  meeting, Maples said.

He said El Cerrito police have had problems in the past with the  administration of Portola Middle School.

"The principal and vice principal have shown a pattern of  unwillingness to report criminal activity on the campus, and thought it was  more appropriate to handle it with disciplinary actions at the school,"  Maples said.

Trujillo said, "I am not aware of those concerns, and don't know  if the Police Department has communicated that directly to (the school  district), but if they have concerns, we really would appreciate if they  communicate that to us."

There have been rumors that there is cell phone video footage of  the incident, according to Maples, who encouraged anyone with information to  contact El Cerrito police at (510) 215-4400.

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