A purported “kill list” naming eight fifth graders at Legacy Traditional School upset parents in more ways than the obvious.
The list apparently was found March 31 in the possession of a male child during class. What happened after that has been a bone of contention.
According to one of the children whose name was on the list, she was sitting near the accused boy when another child noticed the list on his desk. It named six girls and two boys.
“I think it’s pretty mean,” she said. “You don’t know what they could do.”
She said the substitute teacher scolded the child and initially threw away the paper. The students retrieved the paper, she said, and when encountering their regular classroom teacher later in the day, showed her the note.
That is when the note went to the administration and the students targeted by the list were allowed to call their parents, she said.
Other parents, however, were upset to learn about the incident “through the grapevine” instead of directly from the school.
“This is supposed to be a zero-tolerance school,” said Jay Hall, whose child attends Legacy but was not named on the list. “I shouldn’t have had to find out about it at a ballgame. We heard he was suspended, but we should know when he comes back to school.”
Hall said the accused child’s father had spoken with other parents to try to assuage fears, but he said the school itself should have been more open with parents.
The Maricopa administrators have been unable to speak about the incident to the public, citing confidentiality of students and faculty, but a district administrator is encouraging all concerned parents to give him a call.
Bill Bressler, chief academic officer for the Legacy district, said when such a threat arises on a campus, it is policy that contact is made with the child threatened and his or her guardian. As for parents of children whose names were not on the list, not informing them was “my call.”
“There was no need to disrupt the climate of a highly functioning school,” Bressler said.
Bressler said the incident happened on a Thursday, and he was informed of it the following Monday. He said the accused child faced “consequences for infractions.”
School Resource Officer Jeff Pokrant of the Maricopa Police Department met with students and their parents to investigate the situation. MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said no charges were filed and it was not a criminal case.
“The parents were contacted, and the school took disciplinary action,” he said.
The mother of one of the children on the list said she is pressing charges and said the school should have done more to inform parents.
“Why aren’t they telling anybody?” she asked. “I’m concerned we were not informed.”
Despite rumors of access to weapons, MPD determined the accused child had no way of carrying out a threat.
Still, at least one child on the list remains nervous about being in public places.
“I don’t know why he put me on the list,” she said. “I never teased him at all.”
She said she is “50-50” about forgiving her classmate. “I only want to make sure he gets help,” she said.
Parents concerned about the incident or school policy can contact Bressler at 480-270-5438.