Deputies: Marion County student brought pocket knife to school

Report: Middle school student arrested, threatened classmates

Author: Amaka Ubaka, Reporter, aubaka@wkmg.com
John Shull, Assignment Editor, jshull@wkmg.com
Published On: Feb 06 2014 11:00:00 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 07 2014 12:22:58 PM EST
BELLEVIEW, Fla. -

School administrators are sending out letters to parents to discuss a 7th grade student's arrest after threatening kids with a knife during class, authorities say.

It happened at Belleview Middle School on Wednesday in Marion County.

Only Local 6 spoke to 12-year-old Tyler Nelson, who told school officials he thought he was going to die. He said another student in his class held a pocket knife with a open 2-inch blade to his stomach.

"I thought he was going to stab me," said Tyler. "He put the knife right here," he said, pointing at his side. "He took the knife when we were reading and poked me in the side with it, and went back to his desk."

According to deputies, right before that incident, the 14-year-old student threatened another kid in the same class. In the report by deputies, the student said the teen put the knife to his throat and demanded gum. After getting it, the teen gave the student some school money and walked away laughing.

David Prentiss is the teen's father. His son told him and school officials that he forgot he brought a pocket knife to school. He said he had it, but didn't show it to anyone.

"I don't believe he was intentionally trying to do it," said Prentiss. "He said he was sorry and they were just messing around, but then another kid saw it and all the kids got involved into it."

The teen was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and bring a weapon to school.

Prentiss told Local 6 so far, his son has received a 10-day suspension but will not be allowed back at the school. He is currently on house arrest until his court date later this month and will most likely try to attend an alternative school.

Melissa Nelson said she still can't believe her son was threatened.

"How did the teacher not see it? Especially to the kid he held on the neck?" she told Local 6. "I spent most of the night crying, thanking God nothing did happen and he's OK."

Nelson hopes it's a wake up call for the school and the teen who now on house arrest.

"I hope its a wake up call for him that he learns from this and never plays with a weapon," said Nelson.

Nelson also said she's upset because it was deputies, not the school, who first contacted her. She said the school didn't call her until several hours after the incident.

"It was only displayed for a very brief amount of time and a knife that's only that size was very easily concealed," Principal David Ellers said.

Ellers says the teacher wasn't made aware and it was only after a student told the front office when they found out about the incident.

School district spokesman Kevin Christian said that the school needed time to investigate the situation and that's why parents weren't notified sooner. Christian also said community notification isn't typical for most school districts unless the principal finds it is necessary.

"Students caught with weapons on campus face suspension to expulsion," he said. "Typically, a 10-day suspension is handed down but different factors can impact this discipline."