Student faces felony charges after making death threats

CMS bully policy: Offer protection or persecution?

An eighth-grade student at Craig Middle School has been charged with three felonies after threatening to kill the school principal and two teachers.

And this isn't the first time he's been in the spotlight.

On March 1 he threatened the lives several students.

The student's mother said her son's threat was in response to more than a year of harassment and ridicule by a group of boys. Her son threatened those boys, she said, because their bullying and teasing never stopped; he was a constant target.

After the threats, the student was sent to the state hospital in Pueblo for 72 hours of observation and examination. He was returned home.

"Everything was fine, the state hospital said he was OK," the mother said. "He was home a week, and rumors started going around about him making more threats, so he was sent to the psych ward of St. Mary's Hospital."

The student underwent a full psychological evaluation, and was again found to be OK.

"He had a little depression but that was it," she said.

The student returned to Craig and the school.

"During the week of the anniversary of Columbine, my son and I were in Grand Junction, visiting his older sister. My younger daughters were still in Craig, going to school," the mother said. "More rumors about my son were told, saying he was again making threats, making threats connected to the Columbine anniversary. Kids were saying he had a gun and a pistol. No one this family owns a gun, our family's most threatening thing is our beagle."

The mother claims that School Resource Officer Caroline Wade, was aware that the student was in Grand Junction that week, and that Wade said everything was fine. She knew my son had been out of town."

But the student was charged Monday with three counts of Inciting to the Destruction of Life, a felony.

The student is due in court May 7 for a hearing on these charges.

The harassment has not stopped, only switched targets, the mother claims.

"My daughters in Intermediate school are harassed about their brother, and last Thursday, that same group came to our house, shouting insults and teasing my son. My husband had to go outside and escort those kids off our property to make them stop," she said.

The school so far has refused to act on her and her son's allegations about these students, the mother said.

"It's a group of five to seven wealthy kids, and no one stops them. I've complained, my son's put it in writing for the cops, but these kids have never been stopped."

The student hasn't had schooling since the March 1 incident. The mother says her son needs specialized education, but now doesn't want to return to school.

"He's scared and, frankly, so am I," his mother said.

Steve Wiersma, principal of Craig Middle School refused to comment on the case.

"We have a policy to protect the privacy of our students. I can't comment on a particular student," he said.

Officer Wade also declined to comment at this time.

"The police department would not have filed the charges unless we felt there was sufficient evidence," said Craig Police Lt. John Forgay.

Dealing with bullies is serious business these days. The age of "boys will be boys" is long gone, washed away by the string of horrors that have plagued America's schools in recent years. Bullying is now a topic dealt with in state legislatures, and Colorado is taking a tough stance.

On Wednesday, Gov. Bill Owens signed Senate Bill 80, which amends the Safe Schools Act, defining what bullying is and requiring the schools to add a specific policy to their conduct and discipline codes concerning bullying.

Many school districts, including Moffat County's, have already moved to stop bullying by enacting policies. Wade said she will not hesitate to issue a citation to a student who is bullying another.

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