Incident at Carrollton Middle School brings charges

By Georgette HuffMr. Thrifty Published:

An eighth-grade student at Carrollton's Bell-Herron Middle School has been charged with felony and misdemeanor charges of inducing panic following an incident at the school on Thursday, Jan. 3.

According to a report filed with the Carrollton Police Department, Officer Gene Cook was called to the school by Principal Tricia Green after she heard from two students that another student told them he intended to bring a gun to school the following day and "shoot everyone" and then himself, because he was "tired of everyone picking on him." Green pulled the student from class before he could board the bus and contacted juvenile court officials, as well as the student's father. The student's name has not been released because he is a minor.

The report states the student had previous discipline problems at school and at home and had been removed from juvenile probation on Dec. 28. His father told the police that he "needs help" with his son, but cannot find the resources to help him.

Although the student denied saying he intended to shoot anyone, he admitted telling another student he would "beat them up" but did not want to be on probation again. His father said there were no guns in their home. The student was informed he was suspended indefinitely and released into his father's custody.

After the student and his father left the school, Cook and Green learned the student had posted a list of other middle-school students on Facebook, a few weeks ago, with the title "List of people that hate me and disrespect me and I would slit my wrist if they keep on hating me." The list reportedly contains 10 names followed by the phrase, "and everyone else." The police report indicates that juvenile court personnel had some knowledge of the list prior to Thursday's incident.

Word of the list spread quickly, and by evening the village police department and the county sheriff's office were flooded with calls from parents concerned about their children's safety. Some had learned their children's names were on the list.

Carrollton Schools Superintendent Dr. David Quattrocchi said that as of Friday morning, no school officials had seen the list. He said Green had texted him on Thursday afternoon, informing him of the incident. He did not take immediate action and said he was unaware of widespread public concerns until he received a call from the sheriff's office at approximately 12:30 a.m. Friday. By then, the sheriff's staff had fielded nearly 200 calls. Quattrochi said he used the school's emergency alert system around 6:30 a.m. to inform parents of the incident and that precautions were being taken to ensure students' safety. Quattrochi estimated that attendance was down by about 30 percent.

Green was absent on Friday, for medical reasons, and could not be reached for comment.

Although the incident occurred within the village police department's jurisdiction, Sheriff Dale Williams said that "making sure the kids are safe is the highest priority" and assisted with security arrangements for all district buildings. On Friday, four officers were assigned to the elementary, middle school and high school campus within the village, and additional officers were stationed at the elementary schools in Augusta and Dellroy. A metal detector was taken to Bell-Herron Middle School. Williams said two deputies were dispatched to Brown Local Schools in Malvern as a precaution.

The student was taken into custody on Friday, given a psychiatric evaluation and transported to a detention facility.

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