AUBURN, Wash. - The parents of an Auburn-Riverside high school student say they were never notified that a student who was arrested for threatening their son with a knife during class last June would be back on campus when school started again.
Kara and Jason Rowbury say they were even granted a restraining order forbidding the student from being within 500 feet of their home, but the same protection is not guaranteed for their son at school.
"He lunged at our child with a knife," said Kara Rowbury. "The school indicated that with the serious nature of the crime, actually pulling the weapon and threatening our child, he would not be allowed back at the same school. He was found guilty in court, and then they let him right back in," she said.
Court documents indicate the student threatened their son in gym glass with afolding knife blade nearly four inches long. An Auburn School Resource Officer found the knife and arrested the student, who was also immediately suspended from school.
Court records show he was ordered to serve community service and put on supervised probation.
The Rowbury's son started his senior year figuring he wouldn't see that student again. "He immediately felt unsafe in that school," Kara Rowbury said.
An Auburn School District spokesperson said because of privacy rules, the district can't give details about the case to KIRO-7 but the safety of students is the highest priority for the district. The spokesperson indicated that a student with a weapons violation has the right to return to school.
The district indicated it adjusted the student's schedule so he and the victim wouldn't have class together. The district also suggested a student arrested for a weapons violation would also undergo behavior-modification sessions before being considered for re-admission. (new paragraph here) The Rowburys want to know why their family wasn't informed about the school's decision.
"They would not answer any of those questions for us," Kara Rowbury said.
KIRO-7 asked school districts in Seattle, Bellevue and Issaquah about their regulations regarding weapons, and what would happen to a student who threatens another student with a knife on campus. In each district, a threat with a weapon would trigger a mandatory expulsion, but in Seattle and Bellevue, the superintendent can modify the expulsion after considering a student appeal.
If the weapon is a firearm, regulations call for a mandatory one-year expulsion from school in every district, including Auburn.
For now, the Rowbury's son says he will not return to the school until his safety from the other student is guaranteed.
"How do you look your child in the face and say I know you're concerned and you fear for your safety, but we're gonna force you to go to school?" asked Rowbury.
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