Anne Arundel County schools officials were trying to determine last week why a student's threat of violence at an embattled charter school was not reported to the school system and parents, but only to the police a week later.
Bob Mosier, a spokesman for the school system, said Kathy Lane, the director of alternative education, and other officials were reviewing the March 4 incident at Chesapeake Science Point Charter School, in which a ninth-grader allegedly threatened to bring an assault rifle to class and "kill everybody."
The threat was not reported to police until Monday - six days after the incident - and was never reported to the county school system. It was first made public Wednesday in The Examiner.
Sgt. John Gilmer said the student was upset over his performance at school and that officials at the charter school opted to take disciplinary action.
Spear Lancaster, a spokesman for Chesapeake Science Point, could not be reached for comment.
Mosier said any incident that involves a weapon or threat of violence must be reported promptly to school security officials. Principals are not to assess the credibility of a threat on their own, he said.
"The bottom line is, our office of school security needs to know when something like this happens," Mosier said. "That is made clear to all of our principals, and I cannot tell you why it was not called in. Certainly it's disappointing that something of that nature would happen at any of our schools. We take those kinds of things very, very seriously."
The Hanover school has 218 students in grades six through nine and offers an advanced math and science track. It is on probation for administrative and staffing deficiencies and has faced the threat of closure during most of its three-year history.
The principal and a teacher were also recently reinstated after being removed because of Department of Social Services investigations. They were cleared of wrongdoing.
Mosier said the charter school's probationary status was not a consideration as officials investigated the threat and why it was not reported. Officials were also looking into accusations from an anonymous employee who told The Examiner that students have "threatened to rape and kill each other" and that one teacher had a chair thrown at her.
Despite its struggles, the charter school has received high marks academically.
Students surpassed county and state averages in reading and math in the Maryland School Assessments last year, and all seventh- and eighth-graders performed successfully on the Algebra I High School Assessment. It is the only school in the county to claim a 100 percent pass rate two years in a row.