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WCPSS policy returns student to class a year after gun threat

Posted November 4, 2015

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— 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.


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  • Shannon Oliver Nov 5, 2015
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    Matt- this kid was not bullied by those kids! Yes, he can have a second chance but there are plenty of other WCPSS high schools he could be at.

  • Shannon Oliver Nov 5, 2015
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    This story is not sensationalized. They were facts. It is unfortunate that this even happened. 6 boys were threatened with a gun!!!!!! Allow the boy back at the same school as 4 of the boys he "assaulted with a gun" is no in the best welfare for the boy or the 4 victims. It is also unsafe at best.

  • Betsy Mebane Nov 5, 2015
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    This story needs lots more information!!! What about the parents of the kid that was suspended? What did the kid do all the time he wasn't in school? Did he have counseling? Did he ever apologize for his actions? Does he think that what he did was wrong? Please give some more information about the other side of this story!!!

  • Marcy Lyn Nov 5, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Agreed, there needs to be a point of acceptance, however to return to the same school that he attended and made threats, is questionable at best .. Sorry for those that were threatened and are still at that school. Are they not to be considered for being bullied and traumatized by this individual ?
    He should be allowed to attend a different school.

  • Lucy Smith Nov 5, 2015
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    WRAL I am very disappointed in how you reported this story. So much of it is sensationalized and incorrect it is ridiculous. I happen to know this family and they are good people. The child was never arrested, the police report has no mention of threats to anyone. The child made a mistake and never had any intention of hurting anyone. He did everything asked of him and he deserves a second chance. Why did you not interview any of the people who stood up for him when this originally happened? That is not even the gun he had and he didn't even have bullets. It was a tiny antique gun that was a family heirloom that was not even functional. All you are doing is needlessly frightening people and hurting a child who is trying to move forward from a mistake.

  • Matt Wood Nov 5, 2015
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    So apparently all the people on this thread think a kid can't make a mistake and serve his time and then try to rebuild his life. How do we know the kid hadn't been bullied and beat up by the kids he threatened, and then just acted out (however inappropriately)? Key point is he DIDN'T have the gun loaded, he DIDN'T hurt anyone, and HE IS A KID. Y'all are probably the first to apologize for bullies and say "kids will be kids," but you have zero sympathy for a kid who obviously needed help (and may have gotten it in the past year, we don't know based on the article). Do I think he should have returned to the same school? Probably not, but at least give the kid a chance to redeem himself.

  • Tandy Dawgy Nov 5, 2015
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    Wait, so now some people think that this is Obama's fault?! BAH HAH HAH!

  • Pam Snyder Nov 5, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    I completely agree.

  • Marcy Lyn Nov 5, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    You have no Idea of my beliefs or who I selected or didn't select in elections.

  • Jackie Williams Nov 5, 2015
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    This kid goes to Apex Friendship. This sort of thing also happen at Panther Creek and now Knightdale High. Does a child have to get killed for something to get done? Sending this wacko to another high school is not the answer. Rule should be : If a student threatens lives at any school, suspension forever.