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Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001

SCHOOLS STUDENT SUSPENDED FOR THREAT ––— 13-YEAR-OLD CONFESSES TO NOTE AT SOUTHWEST JUNIOR

April 6, 2001

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The Lawrence school district suspended a seventh-grader for the remainder of the school year for leaving a threatening note at Southwest Junior High School, officials said Thursday.

Mickhail Davis, 13, confessed to having written the note March 26 on a rest-room wall in which she vowed to use a handgun against unidentified people. She was suspended five days by the district pending an administrative hearing, which resulted in her expulsion.

"When we catch these kids, I want them expelled," Supt. Randy Weseman said.

Davis' punishment was the same as that handed down against a Lawrence High School senior who admitted writing a threat on a rest-room wall in 1999.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Police and school administrators are investigating recent terroristic threats at Central Junior High and Free State High School.

In a random survey of students and parents Thursday, there was consensus that individuals making threats do it merely to seek recognition.

"I think people do it for attention," said Southwest ninth-grader Kristina Clement. "They get noticed."

But students and parents disagreed about the appropriate punishment for students who make terroristic threats.

Jerry Potter, who has a daughter at Southwest, said expulsion of Davis for the last two months of the school year was insufficient.

"They're just slapping their wrist," he said. "Somewhere along the line we've got to put a stop to it."

Southwest ninth-grader Melissa Harmon said expulsion was too harsh, especially since Davis confessed.

"As long as they stopped it -- that's what is important," she said.

Others said they felt counseling should be mandatory for the teen-ager.

"Expulsion for the rest of the year is OK, but I think she should have counseling also," said Southwest eighth-grader Rachel Moore.

Some students were rattled by recent threats -- three in nine days. In fact, 20 percent of Southwest's students were absent the day violence was to be carried out. Others said they didn't feel their safety had been compromised.

"It's sad people can't go to school and feel safe, but I feel really safe coming to Lawrence High School," said LHS senior Jennifer Akins.

Most said they considered the potential for actual violence minimal.

"At the high school level I think it's more of a threat than down at junior high," said Tanner Stumbaugh, LHS senior. "But I guess it doesn't really matter because anybody can get ahold of a gun."

Weseman said the district would consistently punish students caught threatening the safety of students, teachers or staff.

"This is a serious matter -- not the kind of thing you joke about. And sometimes our kids are just too young or too immature to know the seriousness of what they're doing," he said.

-- Staff writer Tim Carpenter can be reached at 832-7155.

-- This story includes information from 6News reporter Trish Ayers.

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