WCPSS policy returns student to class a year after gun threat
Posted November 4, 2015
Apex, N.C. — The Wake County Public School System has a zero-tolerance policy for guns and other weapons on campus. If a student brings a gun to school, the punishment is an automatic 365-day suspension.
Some parents of students in Apex are questioning whether that’s enough, after a student suspended last year returned to class with those he threatened.
In Oct. 2014, a boy brought a firearm to Apex Middle School and allegedly threatened students. One year later, he is enrolled at a local high school with the victims.
Michelle Hale said the boy pointed an unloaded gun at her then-12-year-old son.
"He pointed the gun at my son's stomach and pulled the trigger," she said. "He said to everybody, 'Don't tell. If you do, I have the bullets in my backpack and you'll be next.'"
Hale said the boy stuck the gun in the back of a student taking a test and threatened to shoot.
"He turned his test over and wrote (the child's name) has a gun," Hale said.
The teacher saw the note and was able to call for help. The student was charged with assault and was suspended from school for one calendar year.
"One thing we were assured of was that this child would never be in a school with our children again," Hale said.
Wake County school board member Keith Sutton said the school board follows the school system's code of conduct and has little leeway once a student has been punished.
"Any student is eligible to re-apply to come back to the school system once they have served their time," he said.
Hale said she and other parents do not think the policy keeps children safe. She took to Facebook and posted her concerns.
"One of the children is terrified that when he goes to school he doesn't know which day he is going to get paid back for telling on him," she said.
Hale suggested the student should be assigned to another high school - something the school board has the power to do.