Parents: Leaders Mishandled Murder Threat At Local School
INDIAN LAND, S.C. – Natalie Lesnefsky says, “I just couldn’t believe that the adults in the room were content with this being enough.” Lesnefsky is, as she puts it, “coming in hot.” Her daughter, a student at Indian Land Middle School, was named by another student as someone he wanted to kill.
Lesnefsky says, “He had texted multiple people that he was going to murder someone, kill someone and specifically our daughter.”
First, Natalie and her husband Ben say they went to the school, then the police, then the Lancaster County School District. Lesnefsky says, “Everyone felt sympathy for our situation but, everyone just wanted to point the finger.”
They say a school resource officer told them he talked to the kid who made the threat and that “everything has been taken care of.” School officials refused to say much else, citing the other student’s privacy. Ben Lesnefsky says, “We understand you have privacy laws, but the protection shouldn’t be for the boy that threatened to murder my daughter, the protection should be for my daughter’s life.”
The school district suspended the student for three days. Under more pressure from the Lesnefskys, school leaders changed the boy’s lunch and class schedule to minimize contact.
WCCB has asked the district several questions, including whether the student has access to weapons. Communications Director Bryan Vaughn didn’t answer that but did say, in part, “We have worked with law enforcement throughout this event to ensure any criminal behavior found is addressed. We also have worked within the bounds of our board policy and state law in regards to any student discipline that is applicable.”
Vaughn then went online and wrote in a Lancaster County School District Facebook group, in part, that “contrary to many people’s beliefs, off campus behavior is outside of our jurisdiction.” He later removed that post. The Lesnefskys say that post added to their confusion about the school’s policies. Ben Lesnefsky wonders, “If that’s the case (off campus behavior is outside the district’s jurisdiction) then why was he suspended, why were his classes changed?”
In the meantime, their daughter and her sister are being kept out of school. Natalie Lesnefsky says, “I just don’t understand why we’re not taking this more seriously and they’re just so content with our daughters just not coming to school.”
The district suggested the girl also change her schedule to avoid contact with the boy. The Lesnefskys refused, saying their daughter should not have alter her schedule. They want the school safety policy to be reviewed and clarified, and they’d like a mental health expert to evaluate the boy.
*This version has been edited to correct the previous version that said the district wanted to change the girl’s schedule first. The district changed the boy’s schedule first.