Sometime after 9 a.m. Friday Jan. 31, a 13 year-old student was reported to have brought a homemade weapon with him to The Dalles Middle School.
According to Wasco County Youth Services Director Molly Rogers, prior to making the call, school officials had been notified that the student was carrying a spring-loaded knife he had made at home and which could be attached to his arm by a Velcro strap. After four concerned students reported to Middle School staff, Principal Pat Consoliver reported the incident to city police at 9:40 a.m.
The knife’s owner was then promptly escorted from the property and brought to Wasco County department of Youth Services, where he was cited for carrying a concealed weapon, menacing and disorderly conduct.
“Menacing,” Rogers said, means that students at the school “felt threatened” by the presence of the weapon.
She could not say whether any direct threats were actually made.
“All I can say is that it’s a very unfortunate event,” Consoliver said.
“This is a student that’s never been in trouble before and who just made a very bad decision.”
When asked what “homemade” meant in this particular case, Consoliver said, “These days it means that if you go on YouTube and want to build anything, they will give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
“This student, for example, seemed like he was pretty excited to come to school and show his friends the impressive thing he’d made. The good news for us is that he did decide to show these friends and that they at least were conscientious enough to know that a device that’s only purpose is to be used as a weapon has no place being at school.”
Concerning the level of threat that had been present at the time of the weapon’s discovery, Consoliver said: “If I show you something and it looks sharp and dangerous, that’s threatening enough in and of itself.
“We’re still not sure exactly what happened, since everyone’s story comes across a little bit different.”
“When someone brings something that was clearly intended to be used as a weapon and nothing else, in every instance we immediately secure the weapon, remove the student from the premises, contact local law enforcement, and begin a safety assessment with the student and his or her family.
“From there, the process continues in an expulsion hearing, where the hearings officer will make the final decision on whether or not the student will be allowed back to school.”
Consoliver says an expulsion hearing will take place sometime after school Feb. 4. He said that a decision will be reached about the incident as soon as possible.