A tumultuous period at Fermi High School continued Tuesday, when a custodian was arrested after allegedly assaulting a student.
Robert Merrill, 61, of 40 Kimberly Drive, Enfield, was charged with second-degree breach of peace in connection with the incident, which took place shortly after school ended Tuesday, Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said.
"There was a disagreement between Mr. Merrill and a 16-year-old male student in the parking lot. Mr. Merrill got out of his car and pushed the student to the ground," Sferrazza said.
Merrill was released on a $5,000 nonsurety bond, Lt. William Zaczynski said.
The latest incident comes on the heels of the arrests of a trio of Fermi students last week on breach of peace charges stemming from three separate allegations of violent threats.
In the first instance, a female student was overheard making a threat to commit violence. Police went to the suspect's home, interviewed the suspect and her parents, and ascertained there were no weapons in the house, Sferrazza said.
"We found probable cause and charged her with second-degree breach of peace," the chief said.
The next day, a male student was overheard making similar comments. Police followed the same procedure and charged that student with second-degree breach of peace, Sferrazza said.
Finally, a female student allegedly made a threat against a school administrator. Following similar procedures, that student was charged with second-degree breach of peace, Sferrazza said.
All three students are juveniles, and their names were not released. Sferrazza emphasized that the three incidents last week all took place prior to Friday, when a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school in Newtown.
"We take each and every one of these cases very seriously," Sferrazza said. "We don't treat them as a prank."
In November, two female students were accused of lacing cupcake batter with urine and laxatives, then distributing them to Fermi students. That case is still under investigation, Sferrazza said.
Just prior to the close of last school year in June, then-Fermi social studies teacher Tyler Wells was arrested on four counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, pertaining to an alleged relationship with at least one female student. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is scheduled to return to Enfield Superior Court Wednesday.