Police said they were forced to use a stun gun on a student who refused to drop a knife that was pressed to his own throat.
Overland Park police issued additional details Friday afternoon about a scary situation at Shawnee Mission West High School Thursday afternoon. The news release was issued in response to questions from KCTV5 about the incident.
Some parents and others were concerned that an officer used excessive force by using a stun gun on a student.
Overland Park police said they were called to the high school, located off of Antioch Road and West 85th Street, about 11:15 a.m. after a school resource officer called them.
Police said the school resource officer told them a 14-year-old boy came into the school's main office just before lunch and asked to meet with an administrator. Once he was in the principal's office, the resource officer told police the student pulled out a pocket knife. Both the student resource officer and Overland Park police asked the student numerous times to drop the weapon and, when he continued to refuse, an officer used a stun gun on him.
"Thursday's incident at Shawnee Mission West High School required deployment of a Taser due to a very serious threat. In this case, Overland Park officers responded to the call of a juvenile holding a knife to his own throat," according to a news release.
Police went on to say, "The suspect was repeatedly asked to drop the knife. He refused to comply with the officers' orders to drop the knife. Officers deployed a Taser to take the student into custody as well as reduce risk of serious injury to him and others. During deployment of the Taser, officers were able to forcibly remove the knife from his hand and secure him."
The 14-year-old student was taken to the hospital, as per policy surrounding the use of a stun gun. He was later released from the hospital and taken to a juvenile detention center for assessment.
Some students said they were alarmed an incident like this happened at their school and others had compassion for the student, wondering what was going on in his life that caused him to do this.
"To me it's scary, but I'm also scared for everybody else and, if it were me in that situation, knowing that he had it or knowing if he was going to do anything, I'd be scared," Brenna Kelly-Collins said.
"I kind of feel bad for the kid that they really thought that was something they should do," Dorian Burton said. "I definitely hope they get help or whatever they need. Hopefully the kid's OK and it's unfortunate that it happened, especially here."
The main office was locked down briefly while the situation was resolved.
Police on Thursday said the student never threatened anybody with the knife.
"The Overland Park Police Department takes the deployment of a Taser as a very serious decision," according to the police statement issued Friday afternoon. "Unfortunately, there are times when there is immediate and imminent danger to an individual or others that requires such a response."
The school told parents about the incident through a broadcast voice message and an announcement posted on the school's web page.
"Today at approximately 11:10 a.m., there was an incident in which a SM West student came to the office in possession of a knife. Campus police officers along with the school resource officer responded, and additional Overland Park police officers were dispatched along with emergency personnel to the school. The Overland Park officers quickly took control of the situation. Due to concerns over the personal safety and well-being of the student and officers, Overland Park police deployed a Taser on the student in order to disarm the student and de-escalate the situation. The office was locked down briefly while the situation was resolved. The student was transported from the scene. I want to commend our staff who followed our emergency plans, and Overland Park police for their prompt action to resolve the situation. Our goal is to provide a safe and secure learning environment, and we appreciate the support of our community in achieving this goal."
The school said they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to weapons and the student could be suspended. Police said the incident remains under investigation.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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