A Langley Middle School chaperone was assaulted and hospitalized Thursday while on a sixth grade field trip to Seattle.
The 60-year-old man was admitted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle but his condition remains unknown. The Seattle Police Department declined to identify the victim, and school district officials including Superintendent Jo Moccia, Middle School Principal Jim McNally and a school board member did not know who the man was.
Moccia did confirm, however, that no students were hurt during the incident.
The assault occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Thursday in the Seattle International District. According to police, the group of students and the chaperone were walking near the 700 block of Jackson Street when another man, identified as Isaac Osborne, 41, approached from behind and began shouting obscenities.
“When the victim confronted the suspect about his language, the suspect struck the victim in the head, knocking him to the ground,” the report said.
Officers responded and took Osborne into custody and booked him into the King County Jail for investigation of assault. The police report said the man had “previously been contacted by police in several crisis incidents.”
According to Detective Patrick Michaud, the area is not especially dangerous but crime is not unheard of.
“We don’t really have a rough part of town but there’s a lot of services for homeless and drug addiction [nearby] so it’s not uncommon,” he said. “But it’s not a terrible part of town.”
Moccia said a small group of students on the field trip witnessed the attack but none were directly involved or injured. Sixth grade parents were notified the same day with an email, and a counselor met the bus when they returned to the middle school.
“Today there was an altercation between a Seattle resident and one of our chaperones when the sixth grade went to the International District,” the email to parents said. “All of our students are safe and are returning to school, as planned, on the school bus.”
It went on to highlight the counselor’s role with students and that “teaching staff and parent chaperones on the trip provided students with the guidance and support needed at the time of the incident and on the trip home.”
Moccia said the assault will likely spark a review about how chaperones should respond in situations of conflict, but that she can’t see scrubbing future trips to Seattle. They expose students to life off Whidbey Island and are an important part of their development.
“We think it’s a good experience for kids,” she said.
Anyone with questions about the incident is encouraged to call the district at 221-6808.