Felony charges filed against student

Mother criticizes Craig school 'bullying' policy


— An eighth-grade student at Craig Middle School has been charged with three felonies after threatening to kill the school principal and two teachers.

And this isn't the first time he's been in the spotlight.

On March 1 he threatened the lives of several students.

The student's mother said her son's threat was in response to more than a year of harassment and ridicule by a group of boys. Her son threatened those boys, she said, because their bullying and teasing never stopped; he was a constant target.

After the threats, the student was sent to the state hospital in Pueblo for 72 hours of observation and examination. He was returned home.

"Everything was fine; the state hospital said he was OK," the mother said. "He was home a week, and rumors started going around about him making more threats, so he was sent to the psych ward of St. Mary's Hospital."

The student underwent a full psychological evaluation and was again found to be OK.

"He had a little depression but that was it," the mother said.

The student returned to Craig and the school.

"During the week of the anniversary of Columbine, my son and I were in Grand Junction visiting his older sister. My younger daughters were still in Craig, going to school," the mother said. "More rumors about my son were told, saying he was again making threats, making threats connected to the Columbine anniversary. Kids were saying he had a gun and a pistol. No one in this family owns a gun. Our family's most threatening thing is our beagle."

The mother claims school resource officer Caroline Wade was aware the student was in Grand Junction that week and that Wade said everything was fine.

But the student was charged Monday with three counts of inciting to the destruction of life, a felony. The student is due in court Monday for a hearing on these charges.

But the harassment has not stopped, only switched targets, the mother claims.

"My daughters in intermediate school are harassed about their brother, and last Thursday, that same group came to our house, shouting insults and teasing my son. My husband had to go outside and escort those kids off our property to make them stop," she said.

The school so far has refused to act on her and her son's allegations about these students, the mother said.

"It's a group of five to seven wealthy kids, and no one stops them," she said. "I've complained, my son's put it in writing for the cops, but these kids have never been stopped."

The student hasn't attended classes since the March 1 incident. The mother says her son needs specialized education but now doesn't want to return to school.

"He's scared and frankly, so am I," his mother said.

Steve Wiersma, principal of Craig Middle School, refused to comment on the case.

"We have a policy to protect the privacy of our students. I can't comment on a particular student," he said.

Wade also declined to comment at this time.

"The police department would not have filed the charges unless we felt there was sufficient evidence," Craig Police Lt. John Forgay said.

Dealing with bullies is serious business these days. The age of "boys will be boys" is long gone, washed away by the string of horrors that have plagued America's schools in recent years. Bullying is now a topic dealt with in state legislatures, and Colorado is taking a tough stance.

On Wednesday, Gov. Bill Owens signed Senate Bill 80, which amends the Safe Schools Act, defining what bullying is and requiring schools to add a specific policy to their conduct and discipline codes concerning bullying.

Many school districts, including Moffat County's, have already moved to stop bullying by enacting policies.


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