Pittsburg police arrested the sixth-grader after the 10 a.m. attack, which left five other boys, all 11- and 12-year-olds, with minor injuries, Inspector John Conaty said. The Central Junior High School student was held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of an edged weapon on school grounds and taken to Contra Costa Juvenile Hall, he said.
The attack occurred between classes, said Barbara Wilson, superintendent of the Pittsburg Unified School District, after the boy approached a 12-year-old student outside a classroom, asking for some of his "Eagle Bucks." The coupons, named after the school mascot, are given out campuswide for good behavior and can be used to buy merchandise, she said.
After the 12-year-old refused to turn over his Eagle Bucks, the suspect left and returned with a box cutter, Conaty and Wilson said. He first cut the 12-year-old boy and then slashed four other boys for no apparent reason, police said. Most of the cuts were to the boys' arms, and the most serious was to the back of the neck, Conaty said.
"They drew blood but were not that deep," Conaty said. The boys were bandaged at the school, 1201 Stoneman Ave., and school officials called their parents to see whether they wanted to take them to a hospital, Conaty said.
"We're fortunate all the (injured) students returned to school" Wednesday, Wilson said.
School officials will wait for the criminal process to finish, but if the suspect returns to the district, he will have an expulsion hearing, Wilson said.
Wilson said she had no knowledge of any previous disciplinary issues with the suspect. And there are no plans to abolish the Eagle Bucks program.
"We take these matters very seriously. We have 1,000 students at the school and it's our responsibility to keep them safe," Wilson said. "But we don't see any change from rewarding kids for good behavior."
Reach Matthias Gafni at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.