East Alton parents pull kids from district over handling of elementary school death threat

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by Ray Preston / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on August 27, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 27 at 9:48 PM

(KMOV) –Several East Alton, Illinois parents were outraged over how their school district handled a threat from a first-grader.

“This boy has a chance to get a weapon and he could use it on any of these kids, I don’t want that kid to be mine or anyone else’s,” said one parent.

The parents tell News 4 that the boy told a kindergartner they he was going to get his father’s gun and shoot him and others.

The district said it did look into the boy’s threat but said at no point was any student in danger and it never rose to the point of putting the school on lock-down or more serious measures.

Half a dozen students did not go to school today following an outrage over the school’s reaction to the threat.

“This is not something to play around and I believe that there’re not taking the steps or measures necessary to treat this as a real thing,” said parent Beverly Wallace.

Wallace took all four of kids out of school today after learning of the threat.

Christina Nance kept her third-grader from attending classes as well.

“My 9-year-old right now he’s scared to death to go to school...the first thing out of his mouth is, ‘Mom, can I be home schooled?’  He’s scared what’s going to happen to his best friend, Mason, what’s going to happen to his teacher...he’s scared.”

The district would not go on camera but the superintendent released a statement saying “it was investigated by East Alton administration and East Alton Police and it was determined it was an inappropriate statement by a first-grader and not a legitimate threat.”

Wallace and Nance said backpacks should have been searched and parents should have been notified.

“If a child has head lice or if a child has the flu, they send a letter home to every parent, so why isn’t a gun handled more seriously?”

The district said at first, it would explain the situation to parents who asked about it but later did send a letter to parents telling them what had happened. The district also added that “through no one can guarantee absolute freedom from harm, you can feel comfortable knowing that your children are in good hand.”

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