Police Give More Details On High School Arrest

Portsmouth police say a Little Compton teen allegedly acted disorderly long after a fight at the high school.

Portsmouth police have provided more details into the Tuesday arrest of a Little Compton teen. 

Joshua Despres, 18, of Little Compton, was arrested Tuesday around 2 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct. The arrest stemmed from a fight that occurred Monday morning at Portsmouth High School.

Despres, a student at the school, apparently became involved in an argument with a fellow student. During the argument, Despres allegedly yelled racial slurs at the 17-year-old man. 

The 17-year-old then allegedly struck Despres in the face. The teen was also arrested and charged with assault. His case will be referred to Family Court. 

According to police, Despres allegedly continued to act disorderly long after fight. He allegedly yelled and swore at a teacher. 

"He continued to be disruptive and to use vulgarity," said Lt. Brian Peters. 

Police presented the evidence to a district court judge, who issued a warrant for Despres' arrest. Despres pleaded not guilty to the disorderly conduct charge at his arraignment Tuesday. 

We called police after a wave of comments were made on the initial post. Some users questioned how a "racial slur" could result in an arrest, while others questioned why the police were called at all.  

Police today have more than over stepped their boundaries, this is a school issue and should be handled as one. — hometownLove.

In no way do I condone his use of a racial slur but to get arrested for saying it is absolutely ridiculous. — Born and Raised in the Tiv

According to Portsmouth High School Principal Robert Littlefield, contacting police after a fight at the school is standard procedure. 

"We usually do consult with police," Littlefield said. "After consulting with police, we work with them and decide whether or not a student should be charged." 

Littlefield also said Monday's fight was an "isolated incident." "We consider this to be an isolated incident and not indicative of a school-wide problem," he said. 

Both of the students involved have also been suspended from school for 10 days. 

Tiverton Dad February 16, 2012 at 08:31 PM
The school and the police would not be doing their jobs if they assumed like you that the situation could not get worse. They have to think worse case scenario.
ralph February 16, 2012 at 08:49 PM
@Tiverton Dad- You and I went to school around the same time. Listen, I understand your concern. I apologize for being a bit over reactive myself to your comment. I see things like this all the time where, folks take something like this and just go bananas with overreaction. Kids in Portsmouth, when I was in school used to go up to Fort Butts and duke it out, and that's where it ended. Nowadays, when something(s) like this happen, the first thing people think about is Columbine. People overreact. Now from your example if someone says, "stab", it's an automatic lockdown of the school. In my opinion just way over the top. I would say that even though 30 years has passed for us, not much has changed with kids. They are just that, kids and they always will be kids. They will behave the way we did. There will be times when some incidents occur where the police need to be involved. Not in this case though.
Joe Sousa. February 16, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Bring back Joe Flood He'll keep them strait.
Rhody February 16, 2012 at 09:11 PM
AGFT - Thank so much for the lesson in american jurisprudence. I'll let you know if I ever need another refresher course. Bottom line is the fact that this never should've gotten that far. Littlefield should've never contacted the police and the police shouldn't have pursued.
Rhody February 16, 2012 at 09:25 PM
PC - what would you call it? A brawl? A melee? A gang-related fight? A riot? Give me a break. Attitudes like yours are the reason school administrators don't have the sack to handle things in-house like they used to. They're too worried they'll lose their job because of overreactions from people like you. Or worse, sued for negligence. And please don't get me started on the "adult" at 17-18 business. Sure they're adults, but they can't even legally consume alcohol. These kids still have curfews at that age. They're nowhere near adults.
Rhody February 16, 2012 at 09:29 PM
That is preceisely what is wrong with America today. Always think of worst case scenario. I mean is makes perfect sense to suspend 5 year olds who bring Super Soakers to school. Arrest kids for fights in the hallways. I can't believe I am wasting my time with this garbage. Unbelievable.
East side February 16, 2012 at 10:49 PM
CYA - that's what this article is all about. Shameful that this kid now has two articles about him. What was alleged is simply not good, however there are two sides to the story and since the one student is 18, lives in LC, and not only got hit after he said what he said, talk about a multiple losing situation.
John White February 17, 2012 at 12:34 AM
It is pretty funny how the school fails to report that the 18 year old was dismissed from school early because the 17 year old and his friends were trying to fight him that day. Also funny how it makes it sound like the assault took place after the slurs were made when it was the other way around by the way the 18 year old is half black another fact left out but lets not facts get in the way of a good story right.
John White February 17, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Early on Friday
jesse jonez February 17, 2012 at 03:18 AM
yall are crayyy when i lived at texas it was cool to call people racial slurs and when we fight the police and school let us settle it off the property let em fight its good for them
Nicole J Osborne Despres February 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I am Joshua's mother. I would welcome the Portsmouth Patch to speak to my son directly about the incident that occured on Monday, and to interview witnesses that were at the scene. My son has been harrassed by the students from Boy's Town for months. On Friday, the school dismissed my son early to go to his bus in order to avoid being assaulted. The school's reaction to the harrassment was to have my son "hide" and try to avoid the several students from the group home. On Monday, as soon as he arrived at school, one of the students walked up to him and punched him in the face. The same student also punched a teacher in the face. He was arrested that day for assault and battery. AFTER he was assaulted, my son called the kid who assaulted him the "n" word. May I also let everyone know that my son is bi-racial himself, though that does not excuse the use of the word, it is important to know that he too is half-black, and not a "racist" white kid from LC. I was told that the school would need to suspend him for a zero tolerance policy. I had words with Jeff Goss about the school's failure to protect my son, and told him that they had better get control of the situation before he returns from suspension. 24 hours later, he was arrested for "disorderly conduct". I ask you, if you were assaulted, would you react? My son has never had any issues with the law before, and this can affect him for college and jobs. The kids at the group home are out of control.
Nicole J Osborne Despres February 17, 2012 at 05:28 PM
" Maybe you should HAVE been arrested..." at least I teach him correct English. Not sure if you noticed, but my son is bi-racial. You must live in a box if you think that these kids don't call each other the "n" word all the time. Do you watch tv, listen to music, ever leave your house? If you were assaulted by someone, regardless of the person's race, I think you would call the other person some choice names yourself. There, but for the grace of God, go I. I learned a long time ago, that one should never judge another person as you never know what will occur in your own family.
jesse jonez February 17, 2012 at 05:32 PM
this is the patch miss no one reads this ish anyway I wouldnt bother meeting anyone
Jenny Piteria February 17, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Nicole, although some children do use the "N" word I think we as a society should try to teach our children that this is not normal talk. Hope everything works out fok for your son.
ralph February 17, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@Nicole- Nicole I commend you for writing. It's a shame that the school goes to the extent it does. I must say that I am extremely disappointed in the way the school handled the situation. I had a hunch that your son had not been in trouble before. This is Portsmouth, not East LA Cali. This is the downside of having policies that are so wrong from the get go. When did it become the norm to send in the calvary(police) to take care of this type of situation. Your son was being harrassed by those who are in a place, because they are hard to handle. What's funny is the Portsmouth School Dept obvioulsy can't handle them either. Kids will fight, it is not right, but it happens. When you do, one must defend oneself. Your son was doing just that. Jeff Goss and the rest of the Portsmouth School Dept. heads need to be fired. For them to over exceed their authority, and allow your son to be arrested is a crime in itself. For them to allow the police to go to the extent of filing disorderly conduct charges is in itself a joke. In an earlier comment, one person wrote to get Joe Flood back in the high school. Let me tell you, Mr Flood would have dealt this the right way. He was respected as Dean of Students at PHS. You did not want him on your bad side. That being said, I hope things work out for the best for you and your son.
East side February 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM
So true. They should meet at the "Fort" at 3.
Tiverton Dad February 17, 2012 at 07:17 PM
No. I never said lock down. That would be inappropriate. But a response from the police and the school administration would be appropriate. By the way, did you see the news item yesterday where a 12 YO boy was was removed from the middle school gym because he violated a restraining order placed on him by a 14 YO old boy? You have to wonder what that kid did to warrant a restraining order. Saying kids will always be kids is a cop out. Behavior is learned; it's not genetic.
Rhody February 17, 2012 at 07:31 PM
TD - I didn't see that on the news yesterday, but the fact that a 14 year old kid can place a restraining order on a 12 year old kid (or vice versa, for that matter) is laughable (actually quite sad and indicative of the way things have gotten these days, but I assume you get my point). Just think about that for a second. A restraining order ...14 year old ...12 year old. Are you kidding me? You think that is a normal way of dealing with childhood behavior issues? You think that a restrainin order will resolve whatever problem those two kids had with each other? That will only perpetuate what issue there was. Am I living in fake life right now? I cannot believe this nonsense.
Anne Parente February 17, 2012 at 08:34 PM
@Ralph- I believe "hood rats" is a derogatory way to describe the people of Texas. Maybe, you too, should be arrested.
kyle February 17, 2012 at 08:35 PM
PATCH EDITORS, you had NO CLUE as to what the true story was and put a story up all willy nilly about this kid using racial slurs and mention nothing about him being victim. How is that ethical? Is that what you call journalism? What a great disservice to Portsmouth and its community members. Explain your actions! Nicole and Joshua Despres – Good luck and maybe its time to finish school at CCRI. Portsmouth School officials obviously have no clue how to handle young adults. Portsmouth Police – bored much? Mr. Goss – you are terrible and owe Joshua an apologie.
Anne Parente February 17, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I have kids at Portsmouth High too and they come home all the time talking about how disruptive and abusive these kids from the group home are. Is it a financial thing that the school does not discipline them? They are allowed an education by law, but they are not allowed to go through the school disrupting everyone else's education. My kids are not friends with the boy who was assaulted, but saw the whole thing happen in the cafeteria Monday morning. They said the boy in this article, Josh, was just standing with his girlfriend when the other boy walked up started verbally assaulting him and trying to get him to go outside. Josh said that he wouldn't go outside and that if the kid was going to hit him he could do it right there. He did and then Josh reacted by calling the kid the "n" word, not in a racial way, but in a punk way. He did nothing more after that, but was accosted by another one of the group home kids on the way to the principals office. Where is the outcry about the behavior of the other student involved? He assaulted this student, but the focus is on this poor kid's reaction. I feel bad for the family to have to go through this and wish them the best of luck with the court proceedings.
Rug Doctor February 17, 2012 at 09:26 PM
It sounds to me that the town of Portsmouth has no control over the high school. A free for all for punks. Why are the Police not present at the school like they are at others? Sounds like there are some major issues that are not being dealt with at this school. This student has been the victim and the school has done nothing to protect him. If I was the parent I would get a lawyer and sue the town of Portsmouth. Otherwise things may never change. Little Compton may have made a mistake sending students to Portsmouth High School. If I was a parent from Little Compton I would be putting pressure on the school committee about changing towns. Who is the pricipal at this school and why are they not responsible for any of this? Time for the school committee to get off of their duffs and do something.
Jack Rubbles February 17, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Due to this particular circumstance of the situation... The patch editors do what they can with the information they are given, if you dont like it go to the herald news website. My only gripe with them is the deleting of comments that are not harassing or have any swearing. Ive seen comments deleted with no malice. Perhaps whoever deletes these comments should move to a country like North Korea where they can live without free speech. What is that reference about CCRI suppose to mean? I have a nephew that graduated from there and transferred to Brown University and graduated with honors. For someone who cant even capitalize their own name you sure do sound ignorant.
Jennifer February 17, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Jack, I think you may have misunderstood the comment about CCRI. I took it to mean that they have a HS program that you can graduate from. I do agree about them deleting comments. My only other complaint is how fast people are to insult each other when they disagree. I don't think the police were called because of the "racial slur"... My guess would be it was more because of the teacher that was punched... (if this is indeed true. It was not stated in the report but by witnesses accounts)
getreal February 18, 2012 at 06:50 AM
@Ralph...The next level could be the next punch that can cause a brain injury or a fall down the stairwell trying to get away. Maybe being chased after school and running out into traffic to get away. You are right this is not L.A. but, to think this could not end up with someone getting realy hurt ? Do we not live in the age of litigation ? What happend to the teachers who could give attitude corrections , that being said it is a shame that is has gone to this point.
Anne Parente February 18, 2012 at 08:36 AM
You are so naive. Have you ever heard of N.W.A.? Google it! If this boy were 100% black instead of only half black, there would be no article and no arrest. Kids use the N word all the time. Society is becoming so overly "politically correct", especially as pertains to african-americans. They can rob, shoot, rape and kill each other, but if you say they are black the ACLU gets involved to defend them. If it is crime against a white person by a black and they mention race, there are riots in the streets. But as soon as white person makes any reference to race- whether indended or not, it becomes front page news. Give me a break. This was an issue of bullying, plain and simple. There is all kinds of debate now about race issues, not what led up to or caused this altercation. The Portsmouth School administration should be ashamed of themselves and the way the handled this situation, as should the Portsmouth Police. I can't imagine what this family must be going through. Now they have to fear retrobution in the community for being a racist family. This is ridiculous. I hope the Patch takes the mother up on her offer to speak to the kid involved so his side of the story will be published too.
Dog568 February 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Shame on littlefield!
ralph February 28, 2012 at 07:23 PM
@ Anne- Maybe you should catch up on your lingo then Anne. Race issues are for another discussion. You should stay clear of what your blogging about on that topic. Your blog has merit, but it's for another time. This is about a fight between two kids and the stupid actions of the Portsmouth School Dept. My descriptive I used as "hood rat" was a rebuttle to what Jesse Jonez was saying. I was using satire. You wrote, "Society is becoming so overly "politically correct". Well then you should practice what you preach. As you otherwised commented," I believe "hood rats" is a derogatory way to describe the people of Texas." Sounds a bit PC to me?
JB April 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM
My granddaughter goes to Portsmouth High School and has told the appropriate people about the bullying she witnesses. They chose to ignore the problem. Bullying is the main problem here and it needs to stop. I fear for the children who are the victims of bullying at Portsmouth High School. They are terrified, abused, and no one is helping them. The bullying must be stopped by parents and the school. Having police presence in the school is not a bad idea.
JB April 11, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Portsmouth High School needs to focus more on academics and less on sports . The focus should be more evenly distributed because if the students do not participate in sports they are treated differently and thus the bullying starts.


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