District downplays threat of bullet cache

"An 11-year old Sakai Intermediate School student has been expelled indefinitely for carrying bullets to school.Was he a threat to himself or other students?Bainbridge Island School District officials and police say no, after separate investigations into the March 29 incident.I think we're walking away from this one pretty confident, Bainbridge Police Chief Bill Cooper said. We're real comfortable it's been resolved.The student, who authorities declined to name, will remain under expulsion pending unspecified medical assurances of his safety to himself and other students, Bainbridge school Superintendent Steve Rowley said."

  • Wednesday, April 12, 2000 2:00pm
  • News

“An 11-year old Sakai Intermediate School student has been expelled indefinitely for carrying bullets to school.Was he a threat to himself or other students?Bainbridge Island School District officials and police say no, after separate investigations into the March 29 incident.I think we’re walking away from this one pretty confident, Bainbridge Police Chief Bill Cooper said. We’re real comfortable it’s been resolved.The student, who authorities declined to name, will remain under expulsion pending unspecified medical assurances of his safety to himself and other students, Bainbridge school Superintendent Steve Rowley said.A kid this age, we have every interest in getting back into school, Rowley said.The expulsion this week attracted the attention of a Bremerton newspaper and a Seattle television station. Tuesday, Rowley spun the ball in the other direction, saying the incident had been overblown by the press.(The student) impressed people (with the ammunition), Rowley said. I think he was pretty much bragging.Cooper agreed with Rowley’s assessment. Police referred the case to the juvenile prosecutor, but Cooper didn’t expect charges to be filed.According to reports, the student brought a handful of ammunition to the Sakai campus and displayed it to other students, reportedly saying he also intended to bring a gun to show them.Whether he meant he was going to show them a gun, or was going to ‘show them,’ we don’t know, Cooper said.Accounts of the number of bullets varied, with school officials putting the number at four, and police at six. Included were several rounds of handgun ammunition and several shotgun shells.The youth reportedly gained access to the ammunition – and a cache of registered firearms – while dog-sitting for a neighbor who was in the hospital at the time of the incident. When contacted after the incident, police said, the neighbor was upset to find out the youth had gotten into the weaponry.He was real concerned about it, and gave us permission to go in the house and take the guns, Cooper said. Police returned the weapons when the man was discharged from the hospital.The school district’s policy on weapons can’t be boiled down to a zero tolerance approach, Rowley said this week, with sanctions varying depending on the circumstances of a perceived threat.Rowley said the district had not been contacted by any parents after the expulsion, and bristled at assertions that officials were negligent in not sending home a letter or flier with students to inform their parents.If we felt there was a threat out there to families or other kids, we’d have found a way to put everyone on notice, Rowley said, citing the district’s recent efforts when a registered sex offender moved in near Wilkes Elementary School.”

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