Student says bully threatened to kill him with a knife, dad wants answers

School district won't comment on incident

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego elementary school student said a classmate with a knife threatened to kill him, and parents want answers from the principal.

Student Deviyon Bates Butler told Team 10 about what he called the most frightening day of his life.

"It kind of felt scary and uncomfortable having somebody chasing you around trying to kill you especially around the school campus," said Bates Butler.

Bates Butler said it happened at the end of last year at Oak Park Elementary School in the Oak Park neighborhood when he told a classmate to stop being a bully.

"At the end of the day she comes over from her class and says I'm going to kill you'," said Bates Butler.

The fifth grader said the next day, he ran into a group of friends who warned him to run.

"They stop me and told me to run and hide and I said, 'Why?', Bates Butler said. "They said (the other student) brought a knife to school and (the other student) showed them the knife."

Bates Butler said he told his teacher, who sent him and the other students to Reashon Villery, the principal.

"So she gives us a paper to write a statement about it. She told me do not tell anybody about the knife situation," said Bates Butler.

He said the girl was not sent home right away and he got a second warning from another student at recess.

"He comes and tells me, 'Oh, (the other student) is looking for you and I saw something in her pocket that's poking out," Bates Butler said. "I ran to the classroom and stayed there for the rest of recess."

His dad, Barry Butler, wants answers from Villery.

"When I spoke to the principal on the phone she made no mention of this and to this day she still hasn't said anything about it," Butler said. "The only comment I can get from her is that it's 'confidential'."

Butler said the girl was back at school three days later, despite the school's zero tolerance policy. In his formal complaint, Butler told school police about the knife attack attempt writing, "there was a student trying to find my son to stab him with a knife."

Butler said the school didn't file its official police report until two months later. Police would not release that report to Team 10 because it involves juveniles.

"What parent is going to accept 'it's confidential' when there is someone at an elementary school trying to stab your child," said Butler.

Team 10 also talked to other parents who said they are upset with this incident and how the school is being run.

"Other parent's want to speak up but they are afraid of retaliation," said Sandra Blackledge.

Blackledge has children at the school and used to volunteer on an advisory board. She said she quit because she said she didn't like how Villery treated her and other members of the board. Bates Butler is in sixth grade now and no longer attends Oak Park Elementary School, but his dad said he still had to speak up.

"Because, this is my community there's other kids there and there's a lot of problems there that need to be looked at," said Butler.

Team 10 tried to talk to Villery, but she deferred to the district for comment.

"We cannot comment on student disciplinary or employee disciplinary actions," said San Diego Unified School District spokesman Jack Brandias in an email.

The school district wouldn't say if Villery was disciplined. Team 10 sources in the educational and juvenile justice system said they knew about the knife incident and other problems.

Sources said they know of several investigations into incidents at the school and told Team 10 they couldn't believe the same people were in charge this year.

Take a look at the violent incidents reported at Oak Park Elementary School and other schools in the district:

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