DREXEL, Mo. — In the small town of Drexel, the word spread fast when an eighth grader at Drexel Junior High School was pulled out of class and then suspended last Thursday.
“I heard they came in and took him out in handcuffs or something,” said Becky Woltkamp, whose children attend the same school.
The student was removed from school because of what another student saw written in the boy’s school planner. Drexel Police say there were written threats.
“We have a responsibility and policies that we take very seriously as far as threatening and bullying,” said Drexel School District Superintendent Bill Johnston. “We read a few statements that led us to believe this was a situation that needed to be dealt with and dealt with quickly.”
Police confirm they picked up the student and took him to the Cass County Juvenile Office.
“You say if you don’t handle it then stuff can really happen, but I think maybe it could have been handled differently,” said Woltkamp.
Johnston says times have changed, leading them to take swift action.
“Honestly, I doubt this would be the same protocol 10 years ago, but given the facts and the situation of schools’ violence we’ve seen over the years, I think it’s our responsibility to take everything very seriously and that’s what we do here and that’s what we did,” he said.
Police and the school won’t go into detail about the threats. However they do say they still don’t know whether the boy meant what he wrote or perhaps was just purely venting.
“My son says he was really quiet, never really said anything. He never gave anybody any gruff or anything. He said it totally surprised them,” said Woltkamp.
That’s why police say parents should always be on the lookout for signs of trouble.
“You have to pay attention to what they’re feeling, what they’re writing down, how they’re acting out, ” said Drexel Chief of Police Jon Carpenter. “Just dont ignore anything you might believe is a problem.”
A parent herself, Woltkamp says she respect’s the school’s response to to the threat.
“This is one of the safest places I know and I have no problem sending my kids to school there,” she said.
The student was suspend through the rest of this school year, which wraps up May 24. The school district still doesn’t know whether the student will be able to come back next year. It will depends on what the Cass County Juvenile Office finds.