Thursday, April 23, 2015

Parent Threatens Child at Broadview-Thomson

On April 6th at Broadview-Thomson K-8 during school breakfast, a 7-year old girl was threatened by a parent (not her own) who said she would cut the girl's tongue out and showed her a boxcutter.   It is unclear why the parent did this but the little girl was frightened and went to a staff member.

The staff member alerted the office and the school staff searched the school to try to find the person in case it was an ongoing issue.  They did not find the person. 

The school says that they notified the child's mother right away.  The mother is claiming she was not told until the afternoon.

At some point, the staff did figure out who threatened the child. When she was questioned, the woman, the mother of a classmate of the victim, claimed she was "just kidding" and had the boxcutter in her coat because she had just come from work where she uses one.

The parent of the child had a previously scheduled meeting with the principal the next day and, of course, they discussed the incident.   According to the district, the meeting went well and the principal told the mother that the other parent now had a no-trespass order for a year.   The principal seemed to think the mother was satisfied when she left his office.

But the mother IS unhappy and has a Facebook page where she says:

- she was not notified in a timely manner
- that she, not the district, filed a police report (I checked and the only police report that can be found was filed by the mother the next day.  The district told me they called police but there is no report on file.)
- the mother says her daughter has not been at school since the 8th
- the mother wants the principal fired and has a petition asking for that
- the mother released a press release on this on Monday (which I never saw)

I reached out to the mother at Facebook this morning but have not heard back from her.

The district says they understood that the mother wanted an apology but, of course, neither the police nor the district can compel the other woman to do so.  It is unclear to me if the mother is seeking an apology from the school.

Apparently, KIRO tv had a short story on this. 

The mother is planning a protest on Monday at 8:30 am at the school.


concerned Broadview Thomson Parent said...

What seems to be missing from this story is the context behind what instigated the threat in the first place. A thorough investigation by school administration and disclosure of the facts may help to alleviate some of the community tension.

The rhetoric on Facebook and on display in the protest outside the school on Monday suggests a deep malicious intent to harm. It is irresponsible to jump to such conclusions without more information.

David said...

When would threatening a 7 year old with a box cutter ever be justified? Especially at a public school?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will point out that the child was African-American, the parent in question is Fillipino-American.

Eric B said...

Regardless of the situation, it's hard to imagine any time when the parent wouldn't get excluded from the school, if not charged criminally.

That said, I can't see how this incident leads to a justified call for the principal to be fired on the spot. I'm sure things could have gone better, and maybe some disciplinary measures for the principal are justified, but an immediate firing is pretty harsh unless the principal was the one with the knife.

Basket said...

That parent needs to be hauled off for a psych eval at the very least. That is a bizarre thing to do to a child, at best.

Patrick said...

Having the principal fired seems like an overreaction. A principal can't be watching every parent all the time.

But how can threatening a child with a knife ever be justified? And showing her the knife? I am not a lawyer but it sounds like assault to me.

Anonymous said...

What could have the principal done? As long as they gathered the facts, believed the student, and ensured the safety of the student and the school, that was all that was needed.
Locking down the school would too much, IMO, but they seem to do it for reasons that are a lot more sketchy than a knife threatening person that was actually in the school, so there's that.
The police and courts will do what they will. What is the proper school district response to parents who threaten or batter students and staff? If the school meant to be a refuge of safety, the school should take a hard line. The school district should not let this woman back on property without an apology, and an essay on why we don't traumatize children by threatening to sever their body parts.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps I am mistaken but I thought the parent who made the threat was banned from the school property for at least a year.I don't know if it is in the form of a restraining order or how it will be enforced. Maybe that is the problem. It is not funny to threaten a child with with physical harm, but I am not sure what firing the principal will accomplish.


n said...

You know, there is a sort of black humor that poorly educated people sometimes use. Since I don't know the complete context, I think judging anybody at this point is overreaching. From my point of view, the principal handled it properly. After all, she knows the situation and banning the parent from the premises for a year seems reasonable esp. since that parent also has a child at the school.

It is possible the parent was teasing. Yes, unwise in this day and age of necessary caution in word use and immediate litigation whenever possible; but without knowing all the facts, I'm unwilling to second guess. After twenty-five years watching parents, they can sometimes make too much of a situation.

And, please, I don't think pairing box cutters with a comment about cutting a tongue out was either smart or wise or even very nice. But I don't know that it was a threat either.

Charlie Mas said...

Once again, the problem is not the incident but the school official's response to the report, and, as usual, honesty.

The parent may be upset that the school didn't inform her until the afternoon and then claimed to have informed her in the morning.

The parent may be upset that the district claimed to call the police, but there is no police report - and there is no evidence of such a call.

The parent may be upset that the principal said that there was a meeting and everything is now cool when, plainly, everything not cool.

So we have two different sets of issues here - one set is about the school's inadequate response and the other is about the school's dishonesty about their response.

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