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Eight boys, not one, brought knives to Connell school

Tri-City Herald

The Connell incident of a fifth-grade boy trading a pocket knife at school appears to be bigger than at first glance.

And one school official admitted in a letter posted to Facebook that “we need to do a better job of keeping parents informed.”

Connell Elementary School Principal Nate Schmutz said in a Thursday letter to parents, “We recently had a student bring weapons (knife, brass knuckles and a toy airsoft pistol) to school, and there were threats made to students.”

Schmutz also said that “one of the student’s friends was also cut on the wrist (similar to a paper cut) when they were playing with the knife.”

The boy was indefinitely suspended, Schmutz said.

Connell Police Chief Chris Turner said it appeared no students had been hurt or threatened.

He also said the incident still was under investigation.

Schmutz said that in the past two weeks, at least seven other boys had a knife at school. No one was threatened or hurt, and the students were suspended.

Schmutz asked parents to be “reassured that what we have shared above is everything we have discovered up to this point.”

School polices also are changing, Schmutz said, inlcuding:

  • Students face random checks to “raise the level of awareness.”
  • Increased supervision in key areas, including the hallways and bathrooms.
  • Procedures for in-house suspensions and an after-school detention program “to help with providing stricter consequences.”
  • Procedures to “get information to parents much faster in order to avoid misinformation, concern and frustration.”
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