New Whitwell Middle School student expelled after creating 'Death Wish' hit list

New Whitwell Middle School student expelled after creating 'Death Wish' hit list

September 20th, 2018 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Marion County Director of Schools Mark Griffith

Marion County Director of Schools Mark Griffith

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A Whitwell (Tenn.) Middle School sixth-grader has been expelled over what has been characterized by the school system director as a "hit list" with the names of six fellow students on it.

The boy, who is new to Marion County public schools, wrote what Director of Schools Mark Griffith described Thursday as a "hit list" on a piece of paper that was labeled "Death Wish."

Students who saw the list came forward Tuesday, Griffith said.

"Upon investigation, there was an admission by the student that there was a hit list and [it] was in the gymnasium," Griffith said.

The list wasn't found in the gym, but Griffith said the student admitted to having made it and other students saw it.

"We went through the expulsion and he's got a disciplinary hearing in the near future," Griffith said. The panel that will hear the boy's case, called the Disciplinary Hearing Authority, is made up of administrators from schools across the county.

"The countywide social worker is on it, the director of pupil services chairs it and the rest are assistant principals and principals," Griffith said. The hearing authority has 10 days to set a date for the hearing, part of the accused student's due process.

Griffith said the school resource officer at Whitwell Middle also was involved in the investigation, but he was unaware whether any criminal juvenile charges were being pursued.

"Marion County detectives have opened a case to investigate it," Chief Detective Gene Hargis said Thursday.

No charges have been filed, Hargis said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


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