Harmony ISD officials investigate students' 'kill list' - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Harmony ISD officials investigate students' 'kill list'

BIG SANDY (KYTX) - How would you feel if you found out some of your child's classmates made a hit list with the names of other students they want to kill?

That's exactly what some concerned parents are saying happened at Harmony Intermediate School in Big Sandy. But school officials say there's nothing to worry about.

Harmony ISD Superintendent Jed Whitaker says the school has investigated the so-called 'kill list' -- made by two fifth-grade boys -- and determined no one was in any danger.

However, on the heels of last week's college massacre in California, some parents are arguing that not enough is being done.

A teacher stepped in when she saw the list in class, and Whitaker says the students immediately apologized.

"They were very remorseful, very contrite," he said. "[They said they were] 'Just goofing around, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to cause a problem, we were just goofing around,' that type of thing."

Whitaker wouldn't say how many students were on the list or who was named.

"It wasn't many," he said.

He says the school's principal and counselor met with the boys, but it was determined that there was no threat to the other students.

"We live in a different world than we used to, and we're certainly cognizant of that and know that you have to take everything seriously," he said, "And I think that they did and investigated it thoroughly."

Whitaker declined to say what punishment the boys were given -- just that there were a number of possible actions officials could take.

"[The punishment] can be just verbal, can be detention, can be withdrawal from a privilege, can be student adjustment -- SAC we call it, ISS some schools call it -- can be suspension," he said.

Now, some parents are speaking out, saying they weren't even told about the incident and want to see more done.

"I would like to see the kids taken out of school," Shane Seabolt said. "I mean, it's only fair. Who knows what they're capable of."

"They're concerned, and rightfully so," Whitaker said. "I just tried to assure them that we did take it seriously, we did investigate it thoroughly, and followed the code of conduct and disciplined accordingly."

Harmony High School student Joshua Hammond says he's always felt safe at school, but after last week's deadly mass shooting in Santa Barbara, Calif., he doesn't want to take any chances.

"[I'm] pretty fearful because we do have graduation coming up right around the corner, and it kind of makes me not want to go to it anymore," he said.

CBS19 also spoke with a couple who has a fourth-grader at Harmony Intermediate, and they said they're considering removing their daughter from the school because of this list.

Whitaker says the list didn't actually have any specific threats -- just names of other students -- but he says that was enough to alarm the teacher. He also says school officials discussed sending a letter home to parents, but ultimately made the decision not to because they deemed the threat as minimal and didn't want to cause a panic.

Whitaker described the two students as "well-behaved," and said that even though he doesn't think there's any cause for concern, counseling services will be provided to the boys on an on-going basis to be safe.



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