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4th Graders Suspended Over Alleged Death Threat

(WHBC) – Two Canton elementary school students have been suspended after allegedly threatening in a video to kill a classmate.

The two 4th graders attend Gibbs Leadership School at 1320 Gibbs Avenue NE.

The Canton City School District says a concerned parent came to the school on Thursday to inform the school of the threat posted on YouTube.

The school district says one student was immediately pulled from class and a search of his belongings revealed a knife.

That boy was suspended, as was another student who allegedly was also seen on the video making threats.

The school district says the students have the right to due process and once that plays out further action could be taken.

The school district says “the parents of those involved were quickly notified” on Thursday and then on Saturday an all-call went out to Gibbs’ families and a statement was put on the district’s website.

Some parents are upset with how the school and district handled the situation.

“I believe they should have immediately locked down the school before even searching,” said Laura, the aunt of the boy who was being threatened.

“And I think a text should have been sent to all parents of the threat, the search and the weapon retrieved.”

She says, in the video, the boys also said they would bring a gun to school.

She told WHBC News that her nephew is scared to return to the school for fear of being called a snitch.

“And I explained to him that what he did was right.”

Laura says her brother is transferring his son to another school.

She says the situation is much more serious than a case of cyber-bullying as she says the district referred to it.

“These are children, but a 9-year-old is capable of murder.”

The Canton Police Department is looking into the incident, and once its investigation is completed will refer the case to the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office.

The school district’s full statement on the incident is below.

On Thursday, an alert Gibbs parent came to the school to let administration know that one of our students had posted a video to social media that made threats to other students with mention of a weapon.

The staff immediately removed the student from class and did indeed find a knife with his belongings. That student was suspended and will now face the due process afforded to him, as with all cases such as this. A second student involved in the situation was also disciplined.

The incident has been fully investigated. The district’s School Resource Officers, Safety and Security team, and administration handled the situation swiftly with a priority of removing the potential danger without causing any disruption among the students. Because the matter was handled without incident, no lockdown was necessary. The parents of those involved were quickly notified. Gibbs’ families were notified Saturday by an all-call once the investigation was complete.

We are thankful that the parent and our staff took what they were hearing seriously, and we effectively handled this without incident.

The safety and security of our students and staff is our highest priority.

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