By Polly Keary, Editor
The parents of a girl who they say was threatened at knifepoint by another student on the bus are planning to seek prosecution of the boy, 13, who brandished the weapon.
Monday, Dec. 2, the girl and her sister were riding the bus to Hidden River Middle School in the morning, and according to their parents, they noticed a boy across the aisle looking through his book bags and pockets. They asked him what he was looking for, and he said he was searching for an electronic device. They asked what it was so they could help him look, thinking perhaps it had fallen on the floor or between the seats.
He by then located the item, and according to the parents of the girls, it was a switchblade knife with a three inch blade.
“He removed the knife, pulled out the blade, licked it, looked at my daughter and stated, ‘I’m going to cut you up in little pieces, cook you in chili, and make your friends eat you,’ and then licked the knife again,” said the girl’s father.
The girl and her sister said they sat quietly, frightened, and didn’t report it to the bus driver because they knew the bus driver had rules against getting out of the seat or making loud noises. The girls and other witnesses say they then tried to report the incident once they got to school and were told to return to class. The girls then talked to their teachers, who sent them back to the office, where, according to the parent, they were refused an audience a second time.
The third time, one of the girls asked to fill out a “concern sheet.” It was then that the girls had a chance to tell the assistant principal of the school what had happened, they said.
According to Rosemary O’Neil, spokesperson for the Monroe School District, the assistant principal wasn’t in his office the first time the girls visited.
“We know that a young person did come to the office and indicate they wanted to speak to the assistance principal, and the principal was not in, and there was no indication of the what the young person wanted to say,” said O’Neil. “The second time, action was immediately taken.”
Within 10 minutes of receiving the girls’ report, the staff had expelled the boy on an emergency basis pending an investigation and seized the knife.
But the parents of the girls question why they weren’t notified right away, and also want to know why their daughters weren’t made aware right away that the boy had been removed from school. They say they were not notified because the assistant principal didn’t see it as an emergency.
“At this point we as parents were still not notified because the assistant principal felt that the offender was ‘remorseful’ and he felt my daughter was ‘emotionally stable’ or was not ‘emotionally affected,’” said the girls’ father.
But O’Neil said that the principal was focusing on the investigation.
“It was less than 10 minutes from the time of report before the student was out of the class and the knife was confiscated, but there are interviews, conversations with others, and we need to be very thorough,” she said. “Certainly, I could understand the family’s concern about not knowing what happened, but it does take time to make sure we have done a thorough job.”
O’Neil said the assistant principal did call the girls’ parents and leave a message; the parents say they never got one, and in any case, the parents didn’t learn of the incident until 12:30 p.m., about four hours after it had happened.
The girl continued to be anxious, wondering if the boy was still somewhere at the school, and her parents came to get her early. The parents yesterday announced the intent to sue; this morning the family said they plan to seek prosecution against the young man.