Student in BB gun incident previously threatened to ‘kill everyone in the school,’ MMSD report shows

The Jefferson Middle School student accused of shooting another student with a BB gun on Dec. 3 previously threatened to shoot up the school and “kill everyone” inside during an alleged incident in September, according to district documents.

A district employee shared the documents with News 3 Now to highlight concerns over how the district has handled these incidents and because they are worried about the safety of staff and students at Jefferson Middle School.

The middle school student was involved in 25 incidents this school year prior to being suspended in December for striking another student with a BB gun on a bus route.

The more than two dozen incidents range from leaving class without permission and refusing to return to class to using physical force against a staff member. During a Sept. 17 incident, the student was accused of yelling a homophobic slur at a teacher and shoving a teacher in the chest. The student received an out-of-school suspension as a result, but was in school the next day, Sept. 18, when he was accused of disrupting a learning environment.

BREAKING: documents show @MMSDschools student who shot students with BB Gun threatened to shoot up the school, kill everyone in it. A staff witness said they felt the student was seeking attention not making an actual threat. This happened about 2.5 months b4 the BB gun incident

— Keely Arthur (@news3keely) December 11, 2019

On Sept. 20, the student allegedly left a classroom without permission, and yelled and made threats in the hallway.

“He continued to yell about how he hated school and wanted to shoot it up and kill everyone in the school,” a staff member is quoted as saying in the report. The staff member went on to say that they didn’t feel like the student was making actual threats and was just seeking attention.

In an email alerting parents to the Dec. 3 incident, Jefferson Middle School Principal Tequila Kurth wrote that she did not believe the student intended to harm anyone with the BB gun despite striking another student as the victim got off a school bus. The student appeared in juvenile court and received a five-day out-of-school suspension. The district is recommending expulsion, according to documents.

According to district policies outlined on the Madison Metropolitan website, incidents are assigned a response level of one through five depending on the severity of the incident, with level five being the most severe. Each response level has a recommended disciplinary action connected to it. Between Sept. 9 and Dec. 3, the student was involved in nine level one incidents, eight level two incidents, five level three incidents, one level four incident and two others that were not assigned levels. The incident involving the BB gun was a level five incident, according to documents.

MMSD Superintendent Jane Belmore responded to the incident in a statement, saying the school district will look into “the release of a student’s private information to local news media.”

The statement also noted that the school district is “conducting a full investigation into the potential release of private information.”

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