Bethel student expelled for a knife at school

BETHEL TWP. — On Monday, Bethel Local Schools’ Superintendent Justin Firks said he’s reviewing policies and procedures following the report of a 13-year-old male middle school student having a weapon and why it wasn’t immediately addressed by officials.

On Jan. 27, the 13-year-old male juvenile was charged with aggravated menacing and illegal possession of a deadly weapon in a school zone and expelled from school for 10 days. He was incarcerated at West Central Juvenile Detention after further investigation, according to the report.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer’s report states, “It should be noted, that I was notified about this incident upon (Principal) Mr. Zigler bringing (juvenile) into the middle school office, which was around 10:45 a.m. At this time, it is unclear why there was a delay from the time of the report from (reporting juvenile) to the point in which (juvenile) was brought into the middle school office.”

According to the district’s policy regarding weapons, it states it has a zero-tolerance policy in place.

‘The Bethel Local Schools is currently reviewing our policies, procedures, and the series of events that took place last week in school. As is standard practice in all districts, Bethel Local Schools does not comment on student discipline matters,” Firks said in a statement to the Miami Valley Today.

According to a Miami County Sheriff’s Office report, the male seventh-grade student claimed he forgot to take a pocket knife out of his bookbag as he rode the bus on his way to school. At the beginning of the school day, the student took the knife out of the bookbag to put it in his pants pocket. He then allegedly brandished the knife in a homeroom class and allegedly threatened a 12-year-old male student who claims he said, “If you tell anyone, I will stab you.” The reporting juvenile claimed he saw a second knife, but only one was located. The threat was documented to have been made at 7:35 a.m.

The reporting student said he had reported the incident — both the threat and the possession of the knife — to the Bethel Middle Schools’ Principal John Zigler in the hallway soon after the homeroom was released. The reporting student said he then became scared after the student continued to remain in classes and through the lunch hour. The reporting student then told another teacher about the threat and knife at lunch who said he’d bring it to the principal’s attention. The student said he was scared that the incident wasn’t being taken seriously. The reporting student then informed his mother, a teacher in the elementary school, and she called the office from her classroom.

When handling the initial discipline, the SRO asked how Zigler was informed about the knife and he said the reporting student had told him earlier in the morning but claimed he didn’t mention a threat.

The School Resource Officer noted the student who had made the alleged threat and had the pocket knife on his person had not been escorted to the office until 10:45 a.m., and noted the delay in her report.

According to the report, the parents of the reporting student said they were concerned about why their son’s report of the knife and threat wasn’t taken seriously and not addressed immediately.