By SHELLY WILKISON
Liberty Hill police charged a high school student with aggravated assault last week after a male juvenile reportedly used a pocketknife to threaten another student.
Police Chief Randy Williams said officers were dispatched to Liberty Hill High School about 9:48 a.m. Sept. 26. He said school officials reported that the incident occurred at the end of the school day the day before.
“A male student made the threat while brandishing a knife,” Williams said. “He threatened to do physical harm with the knife.”
Williams said according to statements taken from the victim and a witness (both male juvenile students), the suspect wielded a pocketknife. No one was injured in the incident, which was reported to have occurred in a restroom.
LHHS Principal Bobby Mabry told The Independent this week that school officials never saw the knife because the suspect had already left the campus when the incident was reported.
“This was a random act,” Mabry said. “The students didn’t know each other before the incident and had not had any negative interactions previously.”
Williams said the suspect was charged with aggravated assault — a 2nd degree felony.
While Mabry could not release information about any disciplinary action taken against the student, he said “the school followed the district Code of Conduct and dealt with the incident in the appropriate manner.”
According to the Student Code of Conduct, a student must be placed in Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) if the student “engages in conduct punishable as a felony.”
While last week’s incident resulted in an aggravated assault charge, Mabry said simple possession of a pocketknife on school property is a violation of school district policy.
“When we discover pocketknives at school, they are confiscated and approriate actions are taken,” he said.
Mabry said there is no class or activity at school that require students to bring knives on campus. But in culinary classes, students may use knives with teacher supervision to prepare food. He said in those cases, the school provides the utensils.
“I think that some students bring pocketknives to school because they may habitually carry them all of the time and don’t view them as a weapon,” he added.
According to state law, pocketknives are not considered “illegal” knives. Therfore, the punishment for possession of a pocketknife at school is left to the discretion of school officials in accordance with school policy.
State law defines an illegal knife as one “with a blade over five and one-half inches; hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown; dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard; bowie knife; sword; or spear.”
State law requires expulsion from school for a student in possession of an illegal knife.