Riverside Student Allowed to Return to School After Bringing Alleged ‘Kill List’ to Elementary School; Officials Say Students Were Never in Danger

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A Riverside elementary school student was being allowed to return to school after bringing an alleged "kill list" to campus last week, after authorities determined it was not a credible threat, school district officials said Tuesday.

A sign for Lake Matthews Elementary School is seen on Jan. 17, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)
A sign for Lake Matthews Elementary School is seen on Jan. 17, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

The list was first reported to school officials last Thursday, according to a letter from Lake Matthews Elementary School Principal Pamela Williams that was obtained by the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Following the discovery, the local law enforcement, along with experts from the school district, were called in to investigate the student and the list, said Justin Grayson, the public information officer for the Riverside Unified School District.

“Any time that we have a situation like this that involves any threat -- whether bullying, whether it’s a joke -- we investigate to the highest extent that we can," he said.

At the conclusion of the investigation, police and others involved in the case determined that there was no threat to other students at the school, according to Grayson.

Tim Walker, the assistant superintendent of pupil services for RUSD, called it a "low level threat."

“Although it was identified as a ‘kill list,’ the child was not in a situation where he was to follow through with anything," Walker said.

Sgt. Chris Durham of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department confirmed to KTLA that investigators found no evidence that a crime had taken place, and that the student did not have access to guns or any other weapons.

"Disciplinary action" was taken in the case, with the student being expelled for two days and allowed to return on Wednesday, his parents told KTLA.

According to Grayson, experts recommended against expelling the child from school, but school district officials determined the student was not a candidate for expulsion.

Grayson declined to share any information about the student, citing confidentiality, but indicated the boy may have been a target of harassment.

"We really care about that student, and we are going to give him every ounce of attention and help that he needs," Grayson said.

“We believe that the school is safe," Grayson added. "We think that parents should feel safe sending their kids here every day.”

Some parents expressed frustration that they did not hear the news first from the school, finding out instead through their children or social media.

“I’m kind of upset that I didn’t find out from the school; we found out on social media. That’s our biggest complaint,” said parents John Jones.

"For me, for like a fifth grader to do something like that scares me a little bit," one parent, who did not want to be identified, told KTLA.

Dozens of outraged and concerned parents have also signed a petition to have the student expelled, the Press-Enterprise reported.

“As concerned parents we feel that allowing this student on the school premises presents an imminent danger to our children,” the petition stated, according to the newspaper. “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.”

RUSD was scheduled to hold a school board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the district's website.

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