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SRO catches West Rowan Middle student with knife

By Shavonne Potts
and Jeanie Groh

shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

Rowan-Salisbury School System officials say a student arrived at West Rowan Middle School on Tuesday morning wearing a Halloween mask and carrying a butcher knife.

West Rowan Middle School Resource Officer Danny Lindley was talking with one of the school’s assistant principals right before 8 a.m., when he heard students screaming and running from the lunch room area.

When Lindley arrived at the cafeteria, he confronted a student waving a 12-inch butcher knife “wildly in the air,” according to a press release from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

The student, who is a 14-year-old, was wearing a rubber clown mask that fully covered his head and refused to follow Lindley’s commands to drop the knife.

Lindley pulled his baton from his duty belt and continued to give commands for the student to drop the knife, while edging closer to the student. At this point, the masked student lowered the knife to his right side, but continued to hold it.

Lindley used his baton to strike the student’s right forearm three times, which caused the student to drop the knife.

At that point, Lindley handcuffed the student and took him to the office. The student’s book bag, which contained an additional 10-inch butcher knife,  was secured.

The student’s family was contacted, and they responded to the school.

The investigation determined that the student needed to be evaluated by mental health personnel due to some of the statements he made to Lindley and school staff.

The student was transported to the local medical center where medical personnel evaluated him and were to perform an x-ray of his right arm to determine if he sustained any injuries.

Lindley secured emergency commitment paperwork for the student from the magistrate’s office. The investigation will continue once medical personnel have determined what type of treatment the student may require due to his mental status.

Deputy Mike Dixon was also at West Rowan Middle School at the time, delivering absentee ballots to the polling place in the school’s media center. He, along with school staff, made sure there were no more threats to the safety of students or school staff and that all students were safe in their assigned rooms.

The school was not placed on lockdown, because the threat had been quickly eliminated. No other students or school staff suffered any injuries during this incident.

“It shows how valuable SROs are in middle schools,” said Rowan-Salisbury Public Information Officer Rita Foil.

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