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In Midland, A Middle School Student Is Removed From Abell Jr. High After Reports Of Threats Emerge

An Abell Jr. High student was removed from school after parents raised concerns about alleged threats on social media. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

By Mitch Borden

After reports of multiple threats at Abell Junior High School surfaced in Midland, the district’s board of trustees called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the concerns of parents.

Jennifer Carpenter was one of these them and made the decision on Monday to pull her son out of Midland Independent School District’s, or MISD,  Abell Jr. High.

According to her, “There was a student at Abell Jr. High that made consistent threats that he was going to shoot up the school. He specified my son in a threat. He specified a teacher.”

Carpenter only found out about these threats last week, when her son told her they’d been happening since March. She immediately notified the school about the issue.

The district removed the student who allegedly made the threats from Abell’s campus while the situation was investigated. He was allowed back on Monday but he was placed in in-school-suspension. This upset Carpenter when she found out.

So, she said, "I pulled my son out because the student was allowed back on campus. My son didn’t feel safe and I didn’t feel comfortable having him on campus."

According to Carpenter, the school didn’t take the threats seriously and failed to communicate with parents about the situation.

“No, he did not have a weapon, but he did use his words. Multiple times on a regular basis. Consistently, repeatedly, and apparently that wasn’t enough for a credible threat.”

After taking her son out of school, Carpenter explained what was going on in a post on social media, which got a lot of responses from parents of MISD students. These responses motivated the MISD's Board of Trustees to call an emergency executive session to discuss the situation on Tuesday afternoon.

Rick Davis, the president of the board, issued a statement after the two-hour closed-door meeting.

He said, “Anytime a credible threat exists parents of students will be informed.”

Davis then addressed how the district would handle the student who allegedly made the threats, including threating Carpenter's son.

“Given the publicity and campus environment that exists at the present time to protect the well being of the student and the Abell community, the student will not be returning to campus.”

Davis did not specify if the student would be allowed to attend another MISD school.

During the board's meeting, there was a report of a different school shooting threat at Abell Jr. High. Davis clarified that this had been a rumor. Security was increased around the middle school though. Eight police cruisers surrounded and patrolled the area throughout the afternoon.

Krystal Leon was in the audience for the District's statement. She pulled her son out of Abell earlier on Tuesday because of the most recent rumored threat of violence. She said there needs to be better communication between the school and parents.

“There’s just a lot of concerned parents that just want to know what’s going on [and if] our kids are safe.”

The district maintains it will reach out to parents in the future when there’s a credible threat to students.


Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.