WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The West Palm Beach Police Department and the Palm Beach County School District say a knife was brought to campus Monday and now parents are upset about how it was investigated. Police still don’t know who brought the knife to Grassy Waters Elementary in suburban West Palm Beach.
A fifth grade boy, whose identity we are protecting at the request of his parents, said his teacher discovered a knife in a classroom Monday. In a picture next to a dollar bill, which is just longer than six inches, the knife appears to be about a foot long.
The school and West Palm Beach police were trying to figure out who brought it.
“They were asking us questions, like do we know what happened, who did it,” the boy, 12, said.
The adults present: a teacher, guidance counselor and a West Palm Beach police officer assigned to the school, according to the boy and the district.
The boy says the classroom was cleared. The boys were brought back in first, where they answered written questions. Then it was the girls turn, the boy says.
After they were questioned one-on-one, police say all the children had a single fingerprint taken on a sticky note.
“I felt bullied and interrogated and harassed,” the boy said.
Police say it was a ploy to get information and that all the prints have been destroyed. They added their priority is safety and they had no intention of arresting anyone.
The school district said this is something they do not condone.
The boy's parents said their son, who is a member of safety patrol, didn’t eat dinner Monday night, and Tuesday morning on the way to school, told them what happened.
“He said. 'I don’t feel safe mommy, I feel bullied,' ” his mom Charltavia Kendrick said.
His dad, Terimius Kendrick, said, “Then you traumatize the kids. You don’t do that, you’re messing with their whole character, their whole thought process throughout the school year and then as they grow as adults, you don’t do that type of thing, especially with all that’s going on in society right now, why do you start here?”
The principal notified parents about the knife on Monday and followed up in an email Tuesday apologizing. The parents talked to the principal on the phone Tuesday morning.
“All the principal could say was ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ The damage has already been done,” Charltavia Kendrick said.
The police department says it’s too early to say if the police officer will face any punishment.