A fifth-grade student at Lake Mathews Elementary School in Riverside, California, created a kill list containing 60 names of his fellow students. He was suspended for two days for bringing the list.
The school’s principal, Pamela Williams, said officials looked into the matter and concluded that no one at the school was in danger. She added appropriate steps were taken to hold the student accountable and that procedures were in place to monitor and support students who exhibit such behavior.
A letter sent to parents read, “The well-being and safety of our students is central to our mission at Lake Mathews Elementary, and we are confident that the steps we have taken support this mission.”
However, the school is now facing backlash from parents as they feel the punishment for the boy is not strong enough. Parents are alarmed with the situation and they vow to keep their children home until he is expelled.
A meeting was arranged by the school officials where parents’ concerns were addressed.
“I do have compassion since he’s a child. I’m hoping he gets whatever helps he needs to get, but we also have to be aware that things happen," said parent Evelyn Artavia.
“It’s very upsetting. I understand that kids will be kids, but this is not acceptable,” said another parent.
“I don't know what protocols they follow, how do they determine that it's all right for him to go back to school. That's why I was here hoping to get some answers, but obviously they don't have any answers for any of us,” said one mother.
Another worried father said he will not take any chances with his daughter.
“She’s gonna miss her Honor Band, she’s gonna miss all sorts of stuff. She’s an honors student and we just do not feel safe sending her back to that school right now,” said the father.
Sgt. Chris Durham with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department revealed that he agreed with the school's assessment of the situation.
“Ultimately through the investigation we determined a crime did not occur and the child did not have means or access to any guns or weapons of that nature,” he added.
Attendance fell significantly at the nearly 900-student campus after the incident. California’s education law states that a pupil may be suspended or expelled if a principal or superintendent determines a student has caused, attempted to cause or threatened to cause physical injury to another person.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Shannon Stapleton