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Student arrested for steak knife

By Greg Gelpi

A 5-inch knife found in a locker is making Gaby Ramsaier "kind of scared" about school.

One of her classmates, a 14-year-old Lovejoy Middle School student was arrested Tuesday morning and faces charges for allegedly bringing a steak knife to school. The charges include possession of a weapon on school grounds, carrying a concealed weapon, disrupting a public school and making terroristic threats, Clayton County police Detective Hank Derbyshire said.

A substitute teacher monitoring a school hallway overhead an argument between two students and heard one student mention a knife, said Clayton County Police Sgt. Scott Stubbs, the assistant commander of the student resource officer program.

The teacher alerted the school's student resource officer, who informed the school's administrators, Stubbs said.

Clayton County Police searched the lockers in the vicinity of the argument and found a 5-inch steak knife inside a history book of a locker of one of the students in the argument, he said.

"It's kind of scary to think that people are bringing a knife to school," Ramsaier said. "I somewhat feel safe, but that kind of scares me to think who else might be carrying a knife."

Her father, Eddie Ramsaier, though, said that the incident was exaggerated.

"Don't think I'm not concerned. I'm concerned about all of my children," he said. "For God's sake, it was little more than a butter knife. It's not a weapon of mass destruction."

The father said he wanted to know why the knife was brought to school, whether it was to brag or to actually commit violence.

"The weapon was never pulled out or used in a threatening manner," Acting Coordinator of Public Affair and Community Relations Jerry Jackson said, describing the argument as "no real shouting, but agitated conversation."

The charge of terroristic threats was brought against the boy later in the day after a 13-year-old girl told police that the boy had threatened to cut her, Stubbs said. A witness corroborated the girl's statement.

Police and school officials are still investigating the incident and conducting interviews, but a letter sent home to parents Tuesday said the incident resulted from a confrontation on Monday.

The letter said that the suspect was spreading rumors about three other students. Three students went to his home Monday and confronted the student, but an older sibling told them to leave.

Police were unsure as to why the student brought the knife to school.

"We're not sure if he had if for defensive or offensive purposes," Stubbs said.

The student, whose name couldn't be released because of his age, could face up to 10 days suspension, Jackson said. He will have a hearing before a school system tribunal that will determine the extent of the disciplinary action.

Jackson assured parents of the safety of Lovejoy Middle "because (the system is) vigilant in the monitoring process."

"The system worked absolutely perfectly," he said. "As with all situations of this nature, we did communicate quickly and thoroughly with parents."

The Clayton County school system reported 44 offenses involving felony weapons in 2003. There were 57 felony weapons in the previous two years combined.

Lovejoy Middle School reported one felony weapon in 2003, none in 2002 and four in 2001.