Elementary school students caught with knives, fake drugs

2012-10-09T00:00:00Z 2012-10-09T06:03:40Z Elementary school students caught with knives, fake drugsBy PATRICK B. ANDERSON | panderson@lacrossetribune.com La Crosse Tribune

Students at North Woods International Elementary School  were recently caught with knives, spray paint and fake pot, according a police report acquired Monday by the Tribune.

School officials reached out to the families involved but didn’t alert all North Woods parents because there was no threat to public safety, said Steve Salerno, associate superintendent of human resources for the La Crosse School District.

 “The safety and the welfare of the kids was never jeopardized,” Salerno said.

The school includes students from pre-school to fifth grade.

The trouble started two weeks ago, when a boy was suspended after bringing to school a plastic bag filled with what he told authorities was marijuana. North Woods Principal Sandy Brauer tracked down the student after being alerted by faculty, Salerno said.

Staff found a plastic bag with a brown dried substance, which tested negative for THC and smelled like oregano, according to police.

In another incident, police were called to North Woods at about 8:30 a.m. Oct. 1, responding to a call that students brought two knives and a can of spray paint to school.

One boy brought two pocket knives to school, telling police he stole the knives from his grandfather. He showed the knives to other children at the bus stop before school, according to police. He was referred to the district attorney for possessing a non-firearm weapon on school grounds, and for having a spray paint can for no legitimate purpose.

Another boy told police that a Logan Middle School student gave him spray paint at a bus stop before school to paint his bike. Instead, the boy used it to paint parts of a nearby playground, according to police. He was referred to the district attorney for graffiti and for possessing a spray paint can for no legitimate purpose.

Prompted by a tip from a community member, school staff apprehended both students before they could enter the school building, Salerno said.

He declined to say how the three students will be disciplined, but said the range of punishments for such serious reports includes suspension and expulsion.

“We’re a mirror of our society,” Salerno said. “What goes on in our society, unfortunately goes on in our schools.”

He said school district officials take the reports seriously and will work to encourage more discussion about what’s happening in the classroom. Preventing similar incidents depends on education and communication.

“It’s constantly at the forefront of our minds,” Salerno said. “How do we ensure kids are safe?”


Tribune reporter Chris Hubbuch contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - October 09, 2012 11:35 am
    We allow them to watch this stuff in the media and movies. Then we wonder why they emulate it? LOL!!!!!
  2. my people
    Report Abuse
    my people - October 09, 2012 10:16 am
    I have a hunch that these kids, because they don't have criminal pasts, will be given probation. Because of this, and the slap on the hand, they will be right back in jail for committing the same crimes, we see it all the time here.
  3. my people
    Report Abuse
    my people - October 09, 2012 10:15 am
    @ Charlie - you apparently have been sheltered your whole life if you think LaCrosse is the "worst and most dangerous place to live". FUBAR is right, we have our problems and throughout the years it has gotten worst, almost unbearable for those of us who chose to stay here and raise their families, however, you ever been to Milwaukee, Chicago, Racine, Beloit, Madison, any of the bigger cities? We are far from being in their shoes. Per Capita, yes the the crime rate/violent crimes has increased and it's scary. I was born and raised here and have chosen to raise my family here and as I agree that it has gotten much worse, I wouldn't call it a bad place to live. There are some problematic people and neighborhoods but that is going to be anywhere you go. There is crime every where we just hear about the crime in our City because it is a smaller community compared to bigger places like Milwaukee and Chicago and we live here. Part of the problem is that there are people moving here from the bigger cities to get away from the crime and their also bringing crime. It's not just black people either, it's white, latino, asian, etc. Some parents think that moving their kids who are getting into trouble out of the big city is solving the problem, when in reality, they are going to get into mischief no matter where they are. The justice system needs to start making examples of the criminals instead of giving free passes. Start laying down the law....that's why it's there!!!
  4. FUBAR
    Report Abuse
    FUBAR - October 09, 2012 8:46 am
    OH PLEASE! This town is not perfect but you go live where I grew up. Besides the Latino gangs, Crips, Bloods and skinheads we had the Night Stalker Richard Ramirez running around chopping people up. We have some problems here in La Crosse and we need to fix it know but, this town is not even close to being one of the worst places to live. Drama.
  5. Bessie
    Report Abuse
    Bessie - October 09, 2012 8:30 am
    Charlie, I was raised here, and I won't disagree that it's certainly gotten much worse over the years, but if you think it is one of the "worst and most dangerous", there are some other cities you'd be horrified to visit.

  6. Charlie
    Report Abuse
    Charlie - October 09, 2012 6:05 am
    Another reason LaCrosse is one of the worst and most dangerous places to live and raise your kids. The chances of your kids being exposed to drugs, violence and bullying increases dramatically as they go through the school system. As an adult, you have an even greater chance of being shot, robbed and assaulted at some point during the year. Time to move on.
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