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Student’s alleged threats make teachers nervous

Alissa Widman Neese • Mar 4, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Police arrested a boy, 9, for allegedly threatening to fatally shoot students and teachers at Meadowlawn Intermediate School this past week, two days after the concerns first surfaced.

The boy made the threats Wednesday and returned to school the next day, despite objections from some teachers and students.

On Friday, police charged the fourth-grader with aggravated menacing and school officials handed him a three-day suspension.

His parents had removed him from school Wednesday and administrators met with the family that evening, according to a Perkins police report.    

Building principal Chris Gasteier and Perkins Schools resource officer Dan McLaughlin investigated further by interviewing students the next day about the alleged threats.

Troubled by the decision to immediately return the boy to school, two Meadowlawn Intermediate School teachers went to the police department Thursday night to document their concerns.

“They advised many of the children in their classes were scared because (the student) was back, and both advised they have fielded phone calls from multiple parents who were scared for their children’s safety,” according to the report filed after the teachers complained.

“Both (teachers) advised they went to the school administrator about being concerned with (him) being back in school,” the report continued. “He told them they were overreacting”

The teachers told police they learned the boy might have access to guns at home, according to the report.

They heard they were on the boy’s rumored hit list, along with several students, who claimed the boy said he’d “blow their heads off” they said in the report.

In the report, police said they told the teachers “there is nothing the police department can do” regarding the boy’s return to classes. They advised the teachers discuss the issue with upper administrators while investigations continued.

McLaughlin’s initial police report about the incident, filed Thursday morning, simply stated a student “made inappropriate comments in the lunch room” and an investigation was pending. His report didn’t disclose details about the shooting threats until after the boy received criminal charges Friday and the Register requested an updated document.

Gasteier wouldn’t comment on the matter and referred the Register to superintendent Jim Gunner, the district’s official spokesman.

When contacted Monday, Gunner said the district and its administrators handled the situation appropriately.

He told the Register the district will not release any details about the incident, citing student privacy laws.

Gunner has not received any calls from parents about the alleged threats, but he plans to meet with two staff members this week about the issue, he said.

“Mr. Gasteier investigated the situation thoroughly and took appropriate action to address the student involved and ensure the safety of the rest of the building,” Gunner said. “I’d like you to remember, we’re dealing with a young kid who made statements angrily. We held the kid accountable and we’re working with students and parents to address their concerns”

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