'Hit list' could result in expulsion beyond this school year for Gateway student

| Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A Gateway Middle School student who was accused last week of writing a “hit list” is prohibited from school grounds for the foreseeable future, officials said.

Superintendent Nina Zetty said Monday the administration would recommend that the school board prohibit the student from school grounds “beyond this school year.”

Officials would not say when the school board will hold an expulsion hearing. The student's age and grade level was not available.

Parents of the student discovered the list in the student's bedroom on April 10, the day after 21 people were injured in a knife attack at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

The parents turned the note over to school officials, at which point the student was removed from class and detained by police and administrators, according to a letter the district sent to middle school parents on the day of the incident.

The letter described the incident as the most serious offense under district policy.

Monroeville Police Chief Doug Cole declined to comment on whether charges would be filed, because the student is a juvenile.

The 25 students named on the list met with school administrators, and their parents were notified, said Gateway spokeswoman Cara Zanella, who also serves as a school safety and security advisor.

Earlier this month, three middle school students were disciplined after they compiled a list of names during class. But those students will not be expelled, because the list was not a credible threat, Zetty said.

“The first list was just, ‘these are the people I don't like; these are the people I do,'” Zetty said.

More than 600 students attend Gateway Middle, which draws seventh- and eighth-graders from Monroeville and Pitcairn.

In 2013, five fights, an aggravated assault to a staff member, two threats to a school official or student, one incident of sexual harassment and one incident of obscene and other sexual materials were reported at Gateway Middle School, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education records.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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