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September 20, 2013

Officer acts on domestic GHS case

When Gloucester’s school committee decided to station a police officer at the high school, parents hoped the officer would protect students in emergencies, but the police envisioned a more encompassing role.

Now, just two weeks after Sgt. Michael Gossom took up his post at GHS, the school’s resource office has taken action in response to reports of a “domestic violence incident” at the school.

A 16-year-old, hearing his ex-girlfriend’s refusal to respark a romantic relationship, allegedly put a hand on each of her shoulders and “shoved” the 15-year-old girl to the ground inside the school, according to a police report. Gossom arrested the teenage boy, and allowed the boy to call his mother before transporting him to the police station.

When Gossom began his position as a school resource officer, he and Police Chief Leonard Campanello had emphasized that, while Gossom would focus on intervening in situations before kids found trouble, he would also enforce the law as any police officer would. Police cited other circumstances surrounding the boy’s behavior in a report detailing his arrest.

“Based on the information and my concerns, I felt it necessary to place (the teen) under arrest for domestic assault and battery,” Gossom wrote. The student is not being identified because of his age and juvenile status.

Police escorted the teen out of the school about 1 p.m., and took him to the station then court, where officers asked his mother to meet up with the police and her son.

According to the police report, Gossom had planned to facilitate a meeting between the girl, a parent, and a school guidance counselor, after hearing in the past week that the young couple’s relationship “may be getting tumultuous.”

But, when a group of students approached a guidance counselor, who later met with Gossom, to tell the counselor about the incident, Gossom took more immediate action.

He first spoke with the girl involved, then made an arrest when she confirmed the details and said she feared the teenage boy’s “explosive anger.”

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.

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