PHOENIX - A 10-year-old girl allegedly threatened to kill a classmate, and brought a knife to her West Phoenix elementary school, but most of the school’s parents never learned about it, according to an investigation by the 12 News I-Team.
According to multiple police reports obtained by 12 News, the girl admitted to police that she brought a knife to Manuel Pena Elementary on Sept. 12, 2017.
She also admitted to giving a boy a note stating: “You can run but you can’t hide…”
Witnesses told police the girl said she was going to stab the boy at lunch.
“I’m going to kill him and walk away like nothing happened,” the girl allegedly told another student.
However, the student witnesses alerted administrators, who took possession of the knife and later alerted authorities.
The Cartwright School District admits that the only parents contacted following the incident, were those of the victim, perpetrator and witnesses.
“We immediately informed the parents of all students involved,” the district said in a statement. When asked to clarify, spokeswoman Veronica Sanchez told 12 News that parents of the remainder of the student body were not notified.
12 News spoke with multiple parents outside the school on Thursday and Friday, many of whom said they had not heard about the incident.
“Usually, something like that happens, I figure that’d be the first thing – let the parents know,” said Juan De La Hoya, whose 7-year-old son attends the school.
“I think we should’ve known. I mean, I think it’s ridiculous. I’m sure they’re parents and they would want to know if something like this happened in their kid’s school,” added Nina Marie Wolfe, whose daughter is in the first grade.
In a statement, the district says the girl was disciplined and no longer attends the school.
“The Cartwright School District takes every threat seriously. The mental and physical safety of our students is a priority, and we believe we acted swiftly and appropriately in this case,” it said.
But some parents were upset they were kept out of the loop.
“Whether they were expelled or not – we still have to know stuff like that … It’s important … let the parents know what’s going on. It angers me, sure does,” said De La Hoya. “Something like this, to not be told or informed about it, man, you kind of wonder: What are they hiding?”
In the report, both the perpetrator and the victim admitted to insulting one another. Among them: The boy claimed the girl called him “gay”, and the girl claimed the boy told her she looked like “Donald Trump’s daughter”.
Meantime, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office says the girl was charged with assault, but was placed in a diversion program.
Her father told police the knife came from the family’s kitchen block, and that the family also had to put the knives away previously due to a “prior problem.”
The names of all the students involved were redacted from the police report.
The district declined an interview, but released the following statement:
We were alerted to the incident at Manuel Pena School on September 12th, 2017. Administrators at the school contacted the police that same day but an officer did not show up until the following day, September 13th. An investigation was launched and disciplinary action was taken against the student. She is no longer attending Manuel Pena School. We immediately informed the parents of all students involved. The Cartwright School District takes every threat seriously. The mental and physical safety of our students is a priority and we believe we acted swiftly and appropriately in this case.
UPDATE 3/2/18: Six days after this story aired on 12 News, The Cartwight School District sent the following letter out to parents:
This letter is to inform you about an incident that occurred on September 12, 2017. On that day, a student brought a steak knife to school and threatened another student with harm. When students came forward to report the threat, our administration took immediate action and called police. Officers showed up the following day to take a report.
The Cartwright School District cooperated fully with Phoenix police officers investigating the incident. Disciplinary action was taken against the student and the student is no longer attending Manuel Pena Elementary. The safety of all of our students and staff is paramount and we strive for that whenever we alert police to any of our campuses. We have made significant strides in preparing and planning for emergencies and that work is ongoing.Thank you for your due diligence in assisting the Cartwright Community in keeping our students safe.