School OKs copying tape of scuffle

NASHUA – Milford school officials have agreed to make a copy of a videotape showing a scuffle between a student and an aide at the Sage School last summer, court records show.

A student and his mother claim that the aide assaulted the boy, and choked him until he passed out, according to a lawyer for the Disabilities Rights Center in Concord.

School staff called police to the Sage School on June 7 and reported that the boy, now 17, had assaulted the aide, Justin Hammerstrong, Milford Police Chief Fred Douglas said Tuesday.

Police investigated, but school officials declined to press charges, Douglas said. Douglas said he was not aware of any allegation that Hammerstrong had assaulted the student.

The Sage School is an alternative middle and high school program for students who have discipline problems in the regular schools, located at the Bales School in Milford.

Security video cameras at the school captured the incident, and school officials gave police a copy of the videotape to hold for safekeeping, Douglas said. Douglas declined to describe the incident in detail, but said the videotape shows what happened.

“It would seem to me that the video is the best evidence (as to what happened) at this point,” Douglas said.

According to Colleen Micavich, a lawyer with the Disabilities Rights Center, the security camera recorded “the entire incident.”

Micavich filed a petition in Hillsborough County Superior Court, asking the court to order the school district to keep a copy of the videotape, and provide a copy to her.

A hearing had been scheduled for today, but was scratched after the two sides settled the matter. The school district will provide a copy of the tape, after first producing a copy that obscures the faces of other students who weren’t involved in the incident, Micavich wrote.

Micavich could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

In her petition Sept. 2, Micavich wrote that the boy, his mother and the Disabilities Rights Center may sue Hammerstrong and the school district. No such case has been filed as yet, however.

Micavich wrote that the student was trying to make a phone call to his mother when Hammerstrong “allegedly ripped the phone cord out of the wall and grabbed (the student) from behind, clasping his arms behind (his) neck and throwing him into a partition.”

Hammerstrong then wrestled the student to the ground and “continued to choke (him) until the point he lost consciousness,” Micavich wrote.

Milford Schools Superintendent Robert Suprenant could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.