'Death list' poem creates stress at Bartram Trail

Mother of boy whose name was on list feels like school isn't doing enough

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The mother of a 17-year-old Bartram Trail High School student is concerned about his safety after his name appeared on a "death list" submitted as a project in a creative writing class.

School officials did sent a note home informing the mother that the boy's name was included in a poem that the school considered threatening.

"It made me sick, and my reaction was, 'What am I going to do to protect my child?" she said. "I mean, what is the school going to do to protect my child, as well as the other children in the class?"

The mother is scared and asked that her face and name not be used, but she is speaking out because she doesn't think the school is going enough.  She's not sure exactly what the student said about her son because she says the school refuses to give her a copy of the poem.

"My hope is that they get this student a psychological evaluation, to make sure that he's safe for the rest of the community," she said. That's really all I'm asking."

As a mom, she says, she wishes she knew more what happened. She says she didn't receive a phone call until several days after the paper was turned in.

St. Johns County district officials said the boy who wrote the threatening poem was suspended from Bartram Trail and placed in the county's Gaines Alternative School. While they couldn't speak about the case in detail due to privacy laws, officials say the school followed procedures.

"In this case specifically, the school has handled the matter very appropriately," said spokesman Paul Abbatinozzi. "They took prompt action, parties were notified, the district was involved."

Abbatinozzi said safety is always a top priority for educators.

"When we receive information or we evaluated scenarios that occur on campus, we do it to the fullest with regards to how we deal with it in the scope and sequence of our conduct code," Abbatinozzi.

Those works eased answers the concerns of one nervous mother.

"My fear is that we're not going to be protected," the mother told Channel 4. "That's my greatest fear and I don't want this to be a tragedy if we have tell-tale signs that this is a potential serious event."

The woman says the boy who authored the poem barely knows her son.