- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

A teenager was stabbed yesterday morning during a pro-immigration rally near Edison High School in Franconia, police said.

A 17-year-old Springfield boy was arrested and charged with malicious wounding in the stabbing of a 16-year-old boy in the stomach during the demonstration at South Van Dorn Street and Castlewellan Drive in Franconia. The stabbing occurred at 10:50 a.m. in a gathering of about 75 students.

Police said the two appeared to have had an ongoing dispute.

The 17-year-old “injected himself into the protest and confronted the victim and stabbed him, so the two apparently knew each other,” Officer Beth Funston said.

Fairfax County Public Schools officials said the victim is a student at Lee High School in Springfield. Police said the 17-year-old is not a high school student. They did not release the names of either boy.

Malicious wounding is a felony that carries a penalty of one to five years in jail, fines up to $2,500 or both.

Police initially took two suspects into custody when tips from witnesses lead them to a nearby Ruby Tuesday restaurant on South Van Dorn Street.

The suspects came out and “ran from the restaurant when they saw police,” Officer Funston said.

The second suspect was questioned and released.

Police said the victim’s friends rushed him to Inova Healthplex of Franconia-Springfield. He was then transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and was in stable condition yesterday evening.

The incident capped a week of demonstrations in which thousands of middle and high school students in Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties and Falls Church walked out or skipped school altogether to protest a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would impose felony charges on the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal aliens.

The largest demonstration took place Thursday, when more than 1,000 students chanting “Si, se puede” (Yes, we can) protested at the Arlington County Courthouse. About 300 students in Maryland also walked out of school.

While some principals have threatened students with suspensions, others have supported the student protests and attempted to turn the debate on Capitol Hill into a social studies lesson.

Fairfax County police yesterday said they were monitoring three to five student demonstrations and that they have been peaceful.

Critics say the students do not understand the impact of illegal immigration on public services and are simply trying to gain a free day out of class.

Cristina Lopez, deputy executive director of the District-based Center for Community Change, which organized Monday’s immigration rally on Capitol Hill, said the students are simply expressing their frustrations over their everyday problems.

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