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West Perry parents demanding answers from school district about “kill list”

SPRING TOWNSHIP, P.A. — Parents of students in the West Perry School District say they feel like they have through the last three months: in the dark. On ...

SPRING TOWNSHIP, P.A. --- Parents of students in the West Perry School District say they feel like they have through the last three months: in the dark.

On Tuesday, authorities announced 34 terroristic threat charges against a 14-year old West Perry High School student after they say he allegedly compiled a "kill list" of 34 students and staff members on a school computer.

Authorities say the charges come at the conclusion of an investigation that started in November.

However, parents say they didn't even know an investigation was going on until the Perry County District Attorney's Office notified them three months later.

Since, parents such as Rhonda Campbell say they've received "sugar-coated" and "form letter" answers from the West Perry School District since the news broke.

"This district put their faculty, their teachers and our kids at risk and that's unconscionable," said Campbell.

Kim Alleman, a West Perry High School parent, said it's been an emotional couple days after learning the student at the center of the investigation was allowed to return to school.

"Very blindsided...The children are blindsided, as well, that go to school with this student...The children were texting parents. I know I got a text, ‘he's here, i'm scared, what do we do?," said Alleman.

Law enforcement say they determined the student was not an immediate threat and did not have the resources to carry out a threat.

Parents say they've received a similar response from West Perry Superintendent Dr. Michael O'Brien, but they say that's not good enough.

"It's our right to protect our children, not fully on his shoulders to protect them in the way that he feels they should be protected," said Alleman.

Some parents, such as David Burden, said they've taken their students out of school until they get more information from the district.

"I don't want to bury my daughter. I don't want Florida happening in Perry County. This is a great community. I'm not a Perry County native, I moved here three years ago and I moved here to put her in that school district. Now, I feel like I'm putting her in harm's way and I'm not going to stand for it," said Burden.

Attorney Richard Wagner is providing legal counsel to some parents.

He said everyone in the school district and law enforcement did all the appropriate steps in identifying, eliminating and processing the threat from the school.

However, he said the problems lies in the breakdown in communication from the district, particularly when letting the student back to school.

"Maybe it was appropriate to let him come back to school. But by golly, I think they should've let the students know and the faculty know and the people know that...We're satisfied, it's okay," said Wagner.

When it comes to the school district's policy, Wagner said the key word in its expressed provision is "shall"

"Shall is a mandate. When you have a mandate, particularly on the heels of what's unfortunately going on in other locations in the country, it seems very prudent to me that they should've been on top of that, letting people know what's going on," said Wagner.

Burden said without any respectable answers, he believes Dr. O'Brien should be reconsidered as superintendent.

"He's wanting to protect the image of the school and not protect the kids. That is just dead wrong as superintendent. The buck stops with the superintendent of the school district," said Burden.

Phone calls and an email by FOX 43 to Dr. O'Brien regarding additional information have not been answered.

Parents say there is a meeting on March 1 at 7 p.m. in the west Perry High School auditorium.

They say they want to get answers but they're asking any attendees to come with civility and composure.