Mother says student threatened to kill son, is outraged over school’s response

A Glendale mother posted a video to Facebook with a call to action after an incident involving her son and a peer at his school.

A Glendale mother posted a video to Facebook with a call to action after an incident involving her son and a peer at his school.

She tells 12 News via Skype another student threatened "to kill him" during an altercation in the cafeteria at Las Brisas Elementary School in Glendale.

Stefanie Calens was upset with the school’s response, saying she didn't find out about the incident immediately.

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"What prompted me to share that video in the first place is that I was not made aware of the incident until after school hours," said Calens.

In a statement, Monica Allread, the Director of Communications and Community Engagement for Deer Valley Unified School District, told 12 News there were inaccuracies to Calens' story.

Calens’ son is 9 years old and attends the fourth grade at Las Brisas Elementary School in Glendale.

On March 1, she posted a video on her Facebook page expressing her concerns about an incident that happened February 22 between her son and another student in the school's cafeteria.

In the video, Calens said that her son told her he was eating lunch with his friends when the student approached him.

"It's not that my son and him have any kind of beef together," said Calens. "The conversation began with this other child calling my son a jerk, something along those lines." Calens recalls her son telling her that he initially ignored the comment, but the other child persisted and her son told the other student, "stop, you are a jerk."

From that point, Calens said the interaction escalated.

She said her son described the other student trying to "get at him" while he tried to hide under the cafeteria table.

"So, my son was trying to go to the other end of the table and when he came up on the other side, that’s when this other little boy took his head and tried to bash it on top of the table," said Calens.

After that, Calens said, the two boys did exchange punches and kicks.

But she stated that she wasn’t notified of the incident until after school hours.

"When something like this happens, and a parent isn't notified, that's a big deal," said Calens. Calens said she received a courtesy call at 3:00 p.m. from the school's secretary.

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Calens said the secretary didn’t know the details, so Calens still did not know exactly what had happened with her son, except what he told her.

"I was assured come Friday, the next day, I would receive a call from the principal," said Calens.

But the principal didn't call until Saturday, according to Calens, and she missed his call.

Calens said the principal had already spoken to her son, witnesses and had started an investigation before reaching out to her.

"When my son first made his initial report on that Thursday, with the principal, [her son] did not include the fact that this other child had threatened to kill him and shoot him," said Calens.

Eventually, her son included that part of the incident in his statement to the principal, Calens said.

12 News reached out to Deer Valley Unified School District and was forwarded a letter that went home to Las Brisas families on March 2.

Here is the statement the school sent home:

Dear Las Brisas Parents and Guardians,

I want to update you on a situation you may have heard about on social media. A Las Brisas parent stated that her child was assaulted and threatened by another student at school.

We take allegations like this very seriously. There are very strict policies in place to ensure student safety. I can share with you that Las Brisas Administration conducted a thorough investigation. We work hard every day to keep the campus safe and secure. Unfortunately, I am unable to share more specific information due to privacy laws (FERPA). Academic records, discipline records, consequences that students receive for behavior, and other student records are confidential and can only be shared with parents/guardians who have educational rights to their child’s records.

I assure you that school safety is our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our school. We greatly appreciate our parents, and we are grateful for your partnership in ensuring the best possible educational experience for our students.

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Sincerely,

Jon Malvin Principal

Allread sent this statement via email to 12 News:

Every time we receive a behavior complaint, it is investigated. We follow the processes outlined in the District's Students Rights and Responsibilities handbook.

Unfortunately, I am unable to share more specific information. As the letter states, due to privacy laws (FERPA). Academic records, discipline records, consequences that students receive for behavior, and other student records are confidential and can only be shared with parents/guardians who have educational rights to their child’s records.

What I can provide regarding the Facebook video is that there are significant inaccuracies made regarding the incident that is described.

The principal of Las Brisas has worked and will continue working to ensure the school is safe for all kids.

We also reached out to Phoenix Police Department and they confirm a police report was on file for an incident involving two students at Las Brisas Elementary. Calens’ video has been shared on social media thousands of times with other parents expressing their concerns.

Now, Calens said she is rallying parents who have experienced similar situations to raise awareness about campus violence and the district's inability to properly deal with incidents such as hers.

"It's not a protest, it's not anything but trying to get parents together to come to discuss what changes need to be made at our school," said Calens. Calens said she hopes to meet with the district and state lawmakers to keep this from happening.

Currently, Calens is waiting to get a meeting with the district, but she says she will fully cooperate with the district about the incident.