Herald JournalHerald Journal, Nov. 10, 2003

Student's 'death list' causes stir at LP schools

By Lynda Jensen

By Lynda Jensen


A list of student names written by two middle school aged students with the title "death list" caused Lester Prairie Schools to enact its crisis team strategy Wednesday.

One of the two students was in the process of throwing the list away, when a teacher intercepted the note, turning it over to High School Principal Joe Miller.

Police Chief Bob Carlson was called, and the threat was clearly determined to be low, with no danger to other students found, according to a school investigation, said Supt. James Redfield.

The school executed its crisis plan of action; although it was deemed not necessary to dismiss the students for the day, Miller said.

"I would say 100 percent of students around (the students) felt no threat," Miller said, adding that the students had no access to weapons and no weapons of any kind were found at the school.

One of the two students told school officials that she got the idea from an episode of "The Simpsons."

"There was no evil intention," Miller said of the students' motives. The list is best described as a foolish act, he said. The note was composed during class time by the two girls.

The student's note did not contain any other information such as a description of how or when any actions may be taken; it only had the title and was a simple list of names, some with first names and others with both first and last names, Miller said.

Both students were suspended, although Miller is hopeful the situation will be worked out, and both girls will be allowed to return after a certain amount of time, he said.

Disorderly conduct charges may be leveled against both girls by the county attorney, Carlson said.

Other students in the same grade were also questioned, since apparently there was input being given to the writer as she composed the list, Miller said.

The list was a very serious matter, Carlson commented. "We did not treat it as a joke," he said.

"Any type of threat or statement is given our full and immediate attention," Redfield said.

School administration met with the entire staff the day of the incident, briefing them on the situation.

Staff also spent time talking with students, assisting those who felt a need to talk about the subject. This type of threat can be perceived in many ways, Miller noted.

Miller spoke to the seventh graders about the issue. "We spent a good share of time with the kids," he said.

Notes were sent home with students explaining the situation as well, to inform parents.

A crisis plan for the school has been in place for several years.

Miller recalled using the plan the last time when a student committed suicide about eight or nine years ago, he said.

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