Police are on alert and school officials are investigating claims that a teacher allowed a mentally-challenged boy to be sent home on a school bus with a knife.
The boy's mom, Taqwensha Richardson, tells News 9 it was very likely that her son or other children could have been hurt. Chickasha Public Schools has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to weapons, according to district policies and rules. In this case, officials say a third grade teacher had a lapse in judgment.
"That put my son in danger, all the kids on the bus in danger as well as the bus driver," Richardson said.
Richardson says her 8-year-old son, who has ADHD, is known for lashing out at school. She says he should be kept far away from weapons of any kind. The third grader says he found a pocket knife on the playground at Grand Avenue Elementary School in Chickasha.
"Half of [the knife] was sticking out from under a brick," the boy told News 9.
The child gave the knife to his teacher who kept it, but ended up giving the knife back to the boy in a sealed envelope at the end of the school day.
"I like the teacher," Richardson said. "She's a real good teacher. All I can say is it was a poor judgment call."
Richardson called police and took video of an officer taking possession of the knife. School officials were not able to meet a deadline to speak on camera Friday, but they were able to email News 9 a statement.
"Chickasha Public Schools regrets this incident occurred and that proper protocol was not followed. However, we feel the safety of our students was never jeopardized," said Assistant Superintendent Robyn Morse, as part of a prepared statement.
The school district says it is investigating. Morse says she believes the switch blade of the knife was not operational and did not pose a threat. In the meantime, Richardson's son is suspended on an unrelated issue.
"How will the teachers and how will the school step up [and] take responsibility for what they [have] done wrong," asked Richardson.
Police say no crime was committed, and the district will not comment on what disciplinary actions the teacher may or may not face. Below is the complete statement released to News 9 from Chickasha Public Schools:
"Chickasha Public Schools regrets this incident occurred and that proper protocol was not followed. However, we feel the safety of our students was never jeopardized. Chickasha Public Schools has been in contact with the Chickasha Police Department and we are currently investigating the incident that occurred on October 10th.
We believe the devise was mechanically nonoperational and therefore not considered a threat. As a district it is imperative that we continually review our policies and procedures for the safety of all our student and faculty."
Chickasha Public Schools