Boy, 9, accused of threatening classmates Police seize youngster at school, claiming he used 'homemade knife'

March 14, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

State police arrested a 9-year-old boy at Piney Ridge Elementary School in Sykesville on Tuesday, charging him with threatening two other boys with a "homemade knife."

No one was injured by the weapon, which was half a pair of scissors with tape wrapped around one end, said 1st Sgt. Charles Mays, a state police spokesman.

The boy was charged with assault and battery and carrying a deadly weapon, then released to his parents, police said.

But a friend of the arrested boy's family said she believes school and police overreacted.

"He's not a violent kid," said Robin Parr of Eldersburg.

She said she was appalled the boy was arrested at the school, then taken and fingerprinted and held at the jail until a relative picked him up.

"I'm totally shocked they would do something like this to a little boy," she said.

The boy's parents could not be reached for comment.

School policy is clear anyone over 7 with a weapon or look-alike weapon will be suspended for four or five days, and the school will call the police.

Officials say they followed the school policy, which was updated and strengthened by the school board in December.

Principal Gloria Horneff sent a letter home with students yesterday saying "a child had a handmade weapon and used it to assault two other students as well as destroy school property."

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the appropriate disciplinary actions have been invoked to the fullest extent that Maryland law will allow me as a school principal to do," Dr. Horneff's letter says.

Sergeant Mays said the trooper who went to the school, James Dewees, reported that the 9-year-old boy had been in a restroom when another boy came in. The boy allegedly held the knife about 6 inches from the other child's face and "asked him if he wanted to be stabbed."

"The victim [said] he immediately left the restroom and went back to class," Sergeant Mays said, and did not report the incident to the teacher.

Another boy went into the restroom and allegedly was grabbed from behind by the boy with the knife, Sergeant Mays said.

The second boy left the restroom and returned to class without telling the teacher, police said. A third boy witnessed the second incident and told the teacher, police said.

When all the boys were back in the classroom, the teacher confiscated the knife and sent the child to the principal's office, police said.

Ms. Parr said the boy claimed he and the other two were "horsing around" with a half a pair of safety scissors they found on the playground, and that no one was in danger.

"This letter is going to get a lot of people scared for no reason," she said.

Pub Date: 3/14/96

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