Howard County elementary principal addresses 'threatening statement' made between students

Jess Nocera
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

An Ellicott City elementary school principal sent an email Monday night to the school’s community addressing “a threatening statement” that was made by one student to another while working on a class assignment.

Lisa Booth, principal of Hollifield Station Elementary, said in the email that during a class period Monday “two students became upset with each other … [and] the situation escalated beyond name calling and a threatening statement was made.”

A male fifth grade student threatened a female fifth grader, according to Mark Muffoletto, an Ellicott City defense attorney. Muffoletto said it was his daughter who was threatened.

The student called her a derogatory name and “threatened to shoot her with a glock,” Muffoletto said.

The situation occurred during a practice session for the annual Simulated Congressional Hearings, according to Muffoletto. All Howard schools fifth graders participate in the simulated hearings as a year-end activity for their social studies classes.

Muffoletto said he was told by the school that the male student would “have no more contact for the day” with his daughter.

A schools spokesman declined to comment on any specifics of the incident. There was no further comment from the school system aside from Booth’s email.

Booth said Howard police were “involved in following up on this situation.”

Sherry Llewellyn, a police spokeswoman, confirmed Monday that “the language of concern was used during a school debate class and police have determined that it was not a credible criminal threat.”

Police interviewed both students and spoke with their parents, Llewellyn said. She could not confirm the names of the involved juvenile parties.

When asked if the home of the male student was searched for firearms, Llewellyn said, “The investigation determined there were no weapons in the home or registered to any of the residents.”

A Hollifield Station administrator and school counselor “quickly responded to the situation” and followed the school system’s threat management protocol, Booth said. The school system’s Student Code of Conduct was used in addressing the student behavior.

“Quite frankly the school did not do enough,” Muffoletto said. “When someone threatens to shoot another student in this day and age … [it] is too real to have it dismissed.”

He said the community needs to hold the school system accountable.

“This isn't just about my daughter. It's about all the kids we send to school each day, hoping the school officials are going to keep them safe,” Muffoletto said.

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