DA drops felony charge against Lawrence sixth-grader accused of school shooting threat

photo by: Chris Conde

Liberty Memorial Central Middle School is pictured in September 2018.

Prosecutors have dropped a felony case against a sixth-grade boy who allegedly made a school shooting threat last spring.

The case against the boy was dismissed last month after he successfully completed an intervention program with Douglas County Youth Services, according to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.

While she did not provide specifics for the boy’s case, DA’s office trial assistant Dorothy Kliem said requirements for such programs are individually geared toward each juvenile’s case. She said the county’s Immediate Intervention Program is similar to a diversion in an adult case.

The boy — then a sixth-grader at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, 1400 Massachusetts St. — was arrested the evening of March 15, 2018. He was subsequently charged as a juvenile with making a criminal threat, for allegedly threatening “to commit violence with the intent to place another in fear,” according to the complaint filed against him in Douglas County District Court.

School officials had called police that evening after a staff member overheard a student make a verbal threat about a school shooting, the school district said at the time. The school also contacted the student’s guardian and “initiated disciplinary action” in accordance with board policy.

A district spokeswoman said she was unable to confirm Wednesday afternoon whether the boy was enrolled in the district. She also said that the district, to protect student privacy rights, does not share information on student disciplinary matters.

In general, children between ages 10 and 17 can be charged with a crime under the juvenile justice code, the DA’s office has said previously. They are charged under the same set of Kansas criminal statutes as adults, but juveniles are subject to different penalties.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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