Local parent hopes school board, laws can change disciplinary measures after threats

HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) - A parent of two local high school students said the laws need to change to protect others from potentially dangerous students. As News 8 reported Tuesday, a Holmen High School student allegedly brought a knife to school after sending threatening text messages. 

On Wednesday, the district said that the student will not be allowed to return to the school due to an agreement in place. State statute allows districts to give students a chance to return, even after bringing weapons to school. 

Brian Treadway remembers his reaction when the school told him about the incident. 

"We were truly taken by surprise," said Treadway, the father of two Holmen High School sophomores. 

A student allegedly sent death threats to Treadway's daughter, saying they would use a knife to stab her. 

"It just so happens, that day, that next day at school, that individual had a 10-inch knife in their possession," Treadway said.  

Schools are allowed to suspend students for endangering others or making threats for up to five days while they gather information. 

"Investigating all matters and all evidence that we can gather. And then from that, we determine if the matter needs to be brought to an expulsion hearing," said Kristin Mueller, district administrator for the School District of Holmen.

If the student is expelled, state statutes allow districts to impose early reinstatement conditions to allow them to return after certain time periods.

"You meet back again with the family and you determine if they have met those conditions or not," Mueller said.  

Treadway appeared before the board in April to express concerns that the student who threatened his daughter could be allowed to return for summer school.

"Because of confidentiality reasons, there was very limited information they could share with us as for what was going on or what the next steps potentially were," Treadway said. 

It wasn't until the speech made its way to social media that people became aware of what happened until over a year later. 

'When information is posted on social media that is inaccurate, it can, many times, create a lot of fear amongst people, especially when they don't know the whole story and you're not able to share the whole story," Mueller said.

The school is unable to confirm that an incident occurred, even when weapons are allegedly brought to campus. 

"That's a confidential matter," Mueller said when asked about specifics of the situation. 

Treadway understands that certain information can't be shared publicly, but worries that this inadvertently puts others in danger. 

"It kind of seems like, to us, that the perpetrator of the incident had more rights in this case than my daughters did," Treadway said.  

Treadway believes either the school board needs to review its policies or the laws need to change to give schools the flexibility, both to share more information and how they can discipline students.

"With all the incidents that we read about on a daily basis, I honestly believe that school boards, school districts need to make decisions in a different method than they've done in the past," Treadway said. 

Wisconsin state law does allow expelled students to apply for enrollment in a different private or public school, even if they have not completed the term of the expulsion. That district, however, can request a copy of the expulsion order and does not have to allow the student into the new district. 

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