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November 18, 2017

Hit list at school leads to expulsion


For the second time this semester, a Luther middle school student has been expelled for allegedly writing a “hit list” against students.

No students have been harmed. The second incident happened Wednesday, we are told, but the presence of the Luther Police Department at the school caused alarm Thursday.

Luther Police Chief David Randall met with Superintendent Barry Gunn, as officers were present on campus.

“We had a juvenile write a list about other students. As a precaution the school administration did lock the doors and we came to investigate the information to see what exactly happened. As of right now, no one is in danger, and we will continue to monitor any information that presents itself,” Chief Randall told The Luther Register.

Chief Randall said the incident happened about 11 am on Wednesday, and he was notified on Thursday about 10 am.

The eighth-grade male student, whose name is not released, allegedly had a list of many names of those he wanted to harm. The list was discovered by a fellow student who reported the discovery. The parents of the students who were on the list were contacted, Superintendent Barry Gunn said.

Parents are upset there was not an effort to contact all parents about the serious incident.

School board member Tony Rumpl, who has spent his career in law enforcement, said the board was made aware of the incident and the administration is taking the appropriate steps to increase security on campus.

Counselors will be on hand Friday to any student that needs support.

Brandy McDaniel with Bright Tomorrow Counseling service said it is important for parents to talk to their children about the incident.

“I know several kids are very worried and they need to be heard, validated and reassured that parents, law enforcement and school administrators are taking this serious and have everyone’s safety as first priority.

If kids don’t feel safe at schooll, they will be unable to concentrate and learn. Situations like this are extremely disruptive to the emotional and behavioral needs of children. We as adults need to do whatever it takes to faciliate a safe enviroment both at home and school,” she said.

Some parents said they will keep their children home Friday.

The issue has brought up questions about school crisis preparedness and communication to faculty and staff, as well as students and parents. Less than a week after the heartbreaking mass shooting at a church in Texas, we are keenly aware of the dangerous world we live in – small towns and schools are not exempt. And hit lists are taken seriously. The student whose action caused him to be expelled and a school to go on lockdown must live with the consequences. But what is next for him?

It’s time for tough questions. A community should ask how they can better prepare and help. The cash-strapped state, is unlikely to swoop in with resources to address underlying causes for such an outburst. The school budget does not have room to pay for armed security presence at our school sites. However, a Bright Tomorrow Counseling does not charge the district for its services. Certainly, that is beneficial and helpful. What else can be done in our home, school, churches, and community?

The student expulsion is the second since the school year began. Early in October, a younger student was dismissed after writing a sort of hit list in a journal. However, this student’s mother is adamant that the district took the wrong punitive action since her son had been bullied by his classmates.

She chronicled the situation in her blog. 

Dear School,

You got it wrong today. You got it wrong when overnight a suspension turned into expelling a student – a student who was pantsed, shoved into a wall, and shoved over/into his desk. You sent home the victim – the kid being picked on.

In a post called “It’s Time to Be Heard,” this mom also writes about her efforts to address the bullying issue, as her son, dismissed from school, began homeschooling.

I have warred for a week now about how to proceed to be the best voice on behalf of my son, and other students, at our local public school. We have a bullying issue that is being ignored and swept under the rug. My student was expelled after being physically assaulted. His expulsion was based on what he wrote/drew in his journal in the process of coping with how he was being treated. We have our son in counseling to cope with his big feelings, but all I keep hearing from professionals is, “It’s okay Momma, this is normal.” “It’s okay Momma, middle school boys draw crazy stuff.”

Is it time for the bully conversation too?

Another LMS student recently left the district to home educate with Epic Charter schools. His mom also publicly shared their experiences, since PreK .

My son, and many other peoples children, are being subjected to a bully on a daily basis. I have been told they need proof of the bullying incidents to address it. So here I am, a mother, begging you to join me. I need other parents of children from Luther Public Schools that have been dealing with a bullying issue to come forward. Let us come together. I firmly believe that where two or more are gathered, a miracle can happen. Rise up to the occasion and defend our kids!!!!!!!

Back to the “hit list.”  Luther Public Schools was spared – there is no confirmation that this second hit list came with a “plan.” Maybe the whole incident was blown out of proportion. Maybe it wasn’t. Perhaps this incident raised some flags and will launch an effort for a community to work together.

As for Friday at school, Chief Randall said his officers will be there, just as a precaution.

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4 Responses “Hit list at school leads to expulsion”

  1. Andy McDaniels
    November 10, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Was this young man bullied? Has that question been asked? Luther has always been a community in which children with disabilities have been accepted by the other children attending the school. Four of my sons attended Luther Public Schools, as did one of my daughters in law. When they attending Luther Public Schools, bullying seemed to be a very rare occurrence as most or the vast majority, of children in the school wouldn’t allow it. Has the school changed that much? If so this is a question and an issue we must all face and put an end to it. This really needs to be looked into by administration and if possible, by the Lither School Board. Bullying isn’t acceptable and we as citizens of this town must make sure that it is not accepted.

    • Kris
      November 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Yes he was constantly bullied because of a disability.

  2. Denise Davis
    November 12, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Yes, he was being bullied. He has autism, His last suspension a kid poked him with a pencil and knocked his book off his desk. He picked the book up and hit the bully with the book then the bully punched him in the eye knocking his lens out of his glasses and blacking his eye. I am not condoning him hitting with the book but where is the teacher when she sees things escalating because this happened in the classroom. Thank you for asking and caring.

    • Andy McDaniels
      November 13, 2017 at 2:12 am

      Mrs Davis we would sure like to know more about this, we will be praying for you and your family.

Have a thought? Please share. And thanks.

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