A fight between two Millard eighth-graders illustrates the problem parents and educators face when rules on student privacy clash with student safety.
Mike Orcutt is upset that Kiewit Middle School administrators won't reveal how they are disciplining a student who, he says, threatened his son at school.
Orcutt said his son received a half-day, in-school suspension for a fight. But he wants to know what type of punishment was given to the other boy.
Millard School District officials say student privacy laws prevent them from disclosing such information.
“We're concerned,” Orcutt said. “We sat back and said, 'OK, what is the school going to do? Has the threat been taken care of?'”
Orcutt said his son stayed home from school Friday after the classmate had threatened “to go get a weapon and come back and get you.”
The incident happened about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, after the classmate broke Orcutt's clay pot art project. Orcutt said his son wanted an apology, and instead a fight began.
He said the classmate hit Orcutt's son with a binder and got a shove in return. That's when the classmate made the threat, Orcutt said. He didn't specify what kind of weapon he planned to bring to school.
Orcutt said his family takes the threat seriously. His wife, Janet, filed a police report, and officers are investigating.
Rebecca Kleeman, a spokeswoman for the school district, said officials could not comment on the fight, citing student privacy laws.
In general, she said: “Whenever any type of incident occurs in our schools, we investigate it and we investigate all parties involved. We respond to each student and that student's family concerning their own discipline. By law, we must protect each student's privacy.”
Kleeman said the district's staff is trained in assessing threats made by students.
“We take all factors into account,” she said. “These factors help determine the level of threat, and that level of threat determines the level of disciplinary action taken.”
Orcutt said he and his wife want to know that their son will be safe at school. They would like the school to take steps to keep the boys separated and ensure that no weapons are brought into school.
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