GARY, IN (STMW) – A northwest Indiana school corporation’s decision to allow a 5-year-old student to take the school bus after he brought a knife and threatened other students has some parents furious.
The incident, which happened Thanksgiving week, is just one of many since the start of the school year, said Laurie Cain and Rachel Hulen, mothers whose children have been threatened by the kindergartner.
That day, however, the child brought a steak knife on the bus and said he would cut Hulen’s son’s arms off and threatened to kill another child, Cain told the Post-Tribune.
A third child reported the incident when they got to school, and the 5-year-old was suspended for five days, Cain said. Lake Ridge Schools, she was told by Asst. Supt. Janet Flores, has a zero-tolerance policy against weapons on school premises.
Hulen said she then went to speak to Hosford Park Elementary Principal Eric Worthington to see if the school would at least ban the 5-year-old from riding the bus. She said Worthington downplayed her concerns.
“He told me they can’t punish him forever and that his mom is a single mom,” Hulen said. “Well, I’m a single mom, too, and my children don’t bring knives to school and threaten other kids.”
She said Worthington assured her the child is only 5 and wouldn’t do it again.
Neither Worthington, Flores nor Lake Ridge Schools Supt. Sharon Johnson-Shirley returned calls for comment.
The mothers would like to see the child expelled, but mostly want him banned from the bus. Hulen and Cain are driving their children to school because they fear for their safety.
“The school has more supervision, but the bus has none. He could do anything, and it’s not like the bus driver can just stop,” Cain said. “But the kid doesn’t even stay for full-day kindergarten, and someone’s picking him from school. Why can’t he be driven to school, too?”
Cain said Supt. Shirley has not returned any of her calls to address the matter and said if she doesn’t hear from her by Friday, she and other parents will take it up with the School Board at its meeting Monday night.
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