JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jan 23 UPDATE: Dr. Kim Wilbanks, Superintendent of Jonesboro Public School District said school officials are looking into the underlying cause behind the suspended student's threats.
Wilbanks said because the student only generalized the group of students without singling one of them out when describing who teased him, they plan to address them as a whole.
She said even though they take any threatening comments seriously, she wants all students to understand the consequences behind bullying.
"Students very often don't realize that their words or comments are hurtful and that is more of the tone of the conversation that we are going to have," said Wilbanks. "We are going to try to help our students understand that words matter."
Wilbanks also said that if any student is being bullied, they need to inform an adult immediately.
Jonesboro High School officials suspended a 16-year-old student after police say he threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot several people.
A student who witnessed the incident told school administrators and School Resource Officer Brian Sawyer the boy made the threats during a seminar class on Thursday, Jan. 19.
She said a table of five other students had been teasing the boy because of his dry lips, the initial incident report stated.
The suspect reportedly told the group of kids he would "bring a gun to school the next day to shoot all of them."
The witness told Sawyer the boy said he was "going to make them suffer the way they make him suffer."
"She said that he threatened one student directly, telling him that he was going to shoot him in the knees and toes to make him go through pain before he died," Sawyer reported.
The girl, who considers the suspect as a friend, said she told him he could not talk like that at school.
"She said that he told her that she didn't need to come to school the next day since she wasn't making fun of him," the report said.
Another student who witnessed the exchange, reportedly told the suspect he would report him for making threats.
The male witness told Sawyer the other students continued making fun of the suspect's face.
After getting written statements from both witnesses, Assistant Principal Heath Roberts brought the suspect and his backpack to the SRO's office for questioning.
The suspect reportedly told administrators he was "taking medication for acne and that a side effect was that it made his lips dry."
"The boy said the other students were making fun of him and telling him it looked like he had herpes," Sawyer reported.
According to the report, the suspect admitted to making the threats but said that he was "joking and didn't think they would take him seriously."
He said his family had one gun which he could not access.
After speaking with the suspect's parents, school administrators suspended the boy for five days for making threats against other students.
"They also informed his parents that they would have to have written documentation from a doctor saying that [the suspect] had been assessed and was in a well-enough state of mind to come back to school," the report said.
The boy was then released to his parents.
Administrators notified the parents of all the students involved and made them aware of the threats made against their children, Sawyer stated.
Sawyer referred the case to juvenile authorities
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