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A routine inspection of a middle school student’s backpack took a dark turn Dec. 19 when police found a folding razor knife, a metal pipe and a rock inside the backpack.
It all started when Principal Rex Kilburn told the school’s resource officer to take the student out of his morning class. Kilburn told the officer the student may be carrying a knife of some sort on his person.
When the student, described in the police report as a 13-year-old male was interviewed, he at first allegedly denied he had a knife on him.
But when Kilburn inspected the backpack he found the knife as well as the rock and a metal pipe in his backpack.
The student told Kilburn the pipe was a piece of his parent’s piano and that he wanted to use it to replace a part missing of the school’s orchestra piano. The rock was something he just liked to kick on the way home, the student said.
While waiting for the child’s mother to come to the school, other students came forward and stated that the 13-year-old was allegedly threatening to kill another student, and was also allegedly trying to recruit other students to help him do it.
When asked about the accusations, the student said it was all a misunderstanding, and that he was actually friends with his alleged intended target. He said the whole thing was a joke that got out control.
He told Kilburn that it all came from a joke with his friends about video games that went like this:
‘“If life was like a video game and you could reset it at any time, who would you kill?”’
Police also noted he changed his story when it came to the metal pipe. The story he told his mother was his friend had given him the pipe and that he was going to use it to replace the missing pipe missing from the school’s piano with the one found in his backpack.
Police said the student and his mother signed a juvenile referral form and the student was released to his mother.
According to the school district’s policy, the student has been automatically suspended for five days. A hearing with the superintendent will take place after the five days to determine if the student can come back to school.
Schmidt wanted to assure parents that incidents like this are rare in a student body of 3,500.
“Of the 3,500 kids, I can’t think of but two or three a year that crop up, and this is the first one that’s happened at the middle school, so it’s really rare,” Schmidt said.
To gain a better understanding of school policy, Schmidt said parents can find the policy online at laschools.net. Once on the site, type in “5154” and the references to the school district’s weapons policy should come up.