RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Parents are petitioning officials at Lake Mathews Elementary School to expel a fifth-grader over a “kill list” that targeted several of his classmates.
On Friday, a parent of a student at the school presented Riverside Unified School District Superintendent David Hansen with a petition of 86 signatures calling for the expulsion of a student who was allegedly discovered with the list last Thursday, Jan. 12., The Press Enterprise reports.
Principal Pamela Williams wrote in a letter to parents on Monday that officials suspended the student for two days, Friday and Tuesday, because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, and said the student was scheduled to return to class on Wednesday.
The note said officials investigated the incident and determined that no students were in danger.
District and police officials have refused to discuss the situation further.
“These types of behaviors are ALWAYS taken seriously by RUSD and therefore we immediately began an investigation, convened our site threat assessment team and notified law enforcement,” the principal wrote, according to NBC Los Angeles.
“As a result of this comprehensive process, it was determined that there was, and is, no danger to any of Lake Mathews’ students.”
Parents, however, aren’t convinced, KABC reports.
“It’s almost like a slap on the hand,” parent Mirella Madrigal told the Press Enterprise. “I don’t think it’s enough to demonstrate the severity of the case. How do you get a two-day suspension for writing out two kill lists? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Madrigal contends her son, a student at the school, found a second similar “kill list” with his name on it.
Dozens of parents who signed the petition are reportedly keeping their children home from school if and until district officials agree to take more drastic measures against the boy.
“As concerned parents we feel that allowing this student on the school premises presents an imminent danger to our children,” the petition read. “Thus, we decided that we will not allow our children to attend school until the 5th grade student has been removed from the school premises permanently.”
Dozens of other parents who met at a produce market near the school on Monday told the Press Enterprise they plan to pursue criminal charges against the student, and voice their concerns at a Tuesday school board meeting.
Board member Tom Hunt described the “kill list” as “concerning,” and said the incident stemmed from conflicts between the fifth-grader and his classmates.
“It sounds to me like the young boy had some problems with some kids,” Hunt said. “Obviously, the young man needs some counseling.”
Madrigal’s son, and the parent of another student who found a second list on Wednesday, Krystal Gross, said their children were shaken when they discovered their names on the document.
“For me, I can’t have my daughter go back to school and sit next to a kid who has her on a kill list,” Gross said.
Madrigal said the paper also contained drawings of knives and blood and skulls.
“At first it didn’t really dawn on him, the severity of it,” she said. “And now he’s starting to understand it. He’s not coping well at all, and neither am I. He’s very shaken by it.”