News

Boys expelled for carrying knives

Two Oak Harbor Middle School students were expelled Thursday after one was found to be in possession of knives. The two said they had discussed a plan to hold a group of students hostage in the cafeteria, according to a letter sent to parents from Principal Peggy Ellis.

The student with the knives was removed from class following a report from another student. No one at the school was harmed or directly threatened.

Oak Harbor Police Captain Rick Wallace said he could not disclose how many knives or what type were confiscated, but they were found both on the student and in his locker. The student is in police custody.

“We always try to take action on the conservative side,” Wallace said. “We will proceed as if he intended to commit a crime.”

Police are still trying to determine the nature and extent of that crime. The student did have a written “target list,” naming other students. Wallace said the boy could have been just trying to frighten other students, but he was arrested for possession of a weapon with intent to commit assault, which means he could be charged with a felony. The other student expelled has not been arrested.

While school administrators commended the student who reported the incident, Wallace said they have learned that other students also knew of the plan, but did not report it.

Ellis said that is not surprising, given the age group.

“It’s part of the teenage psyche to think of their peers first,” she said.

Ellis spoke with teachers and eighth grade students this morning about the incident, and what could be done to prevent this from happening again.

“We had a good conversation, with some good questions,” she said. “One student pointed out that if someone at Columbine (high school) had talked, it never would have happened,” she said, referring to the worst school shooting in U.S. history. She told the middle school students that if they know something is going on, they have to weigh the consequences between telling and not telling.

She described the two boys involved as “just kids.”

“We don’t know what happens with kids who make poor decisions,” she said.

You can reach News-Times reporter Marcie Miller at mmiller@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611

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