A 16-year-old Ardmore High School student has been expelled from Limestone County schools for a year for threatening to harm the girl he was accused of stalking and then kill himself, a school official said Monday.

A student who heard the teen’s threats reported them to school officials and also told them the boy showed him a gun at his home, which he claimed to have stolen from his uncle, said Ardmore Principal Mike Owens.

The teenager is undergoing 14 days of treatment at Decatur General West, a psychiatric treatment facility. He is also facing other charges as a juvenile for allegedly stalking the girl, Owens said.

“He poses a danger to himself and others,” Owens said. “His parents agreed and sought treatment for him.”

The News Courier withheld the names of the boy who was expelled, the girl and the student who reported the threats because they are juveniles.

Limestone County school board members unanimously agreed to expel the boy during a special called meeting Monday at the central office in Athens. It was the first of two meetings this week dealing with the threat of students with guns. Tonight, the board will meet again in special called meeting at the central office to decide the fate of the West Limestone High School student who brought a handgun to school. That student remains in the juvenile detention facility in Tuscumbia.

In the case Monday night, Owens said he received a call at home about 9 p.m. Sunday, March 25 from an individual who heard about a student threatening to “possibly commit suicide and harm someone else at Ardmore High School.”

On Monday, March 26 – the day after spring break – Owens said he and assistant principals Jan Tribble and Darrell Long waited outside the high school for the 16 year old, who typically walks to school. The boy was escorted to the principal’s office, where he was questioned about the threats. The boy admitted he made the threats and, at Owens’ request, made a written statement detailing the threats and listing the names of the students whom he believed had heard the threats. Subsequently, the boy admitted he had stolen his uncle’s gun, hidden it in his room – along with ammunition – and had showed it to one of the names on the list.

Owens said he called the boy’s parents to the school. The boy was suspended and told he would either face placement in an alternative school or expulsion.

School officials verified that the other students who heard, or overhead the threats, did not take them seriously.

After hearing details of the case, Superintendent Dr. Barry Carroll asked the board to expel the boy for one year. Neither the boy nor his parents attended the meeting.

Board members Darin Russell, Earl Glaze, Charles Shoulders, James Shannon and Anthony Hilliard entered into executive session, as allowed by the open meeting law when discussing a person’s character. Board members John King and Board President Bryant Moss could not attend the meeting. In fewer than 10 minutes, those present voted and announced their decision in public. They accepted Carroll’s one-year expulsion recommendation but asked that the student be required to receive a passing evaluation by a psychiatrist before being allowed to return to school.

“I don’t have a problem with that,” Carroll said, however he did advise the board that the schools would have to pay for the evaluation.

“That would be the least we need to do to protect students,” Shoulders said.

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