The mother of a boy threatened by a Homestead elementary school student who was caught with a knife said she believes the student is only getting a slap on the wrist.
"I was scared to death," mother Crystal Balladares said, in an exclusive interview with NBC 6 Friday.
When Balladares picks up her 11-year-old from Gateway Environmental K-8 Learning Center, she said she always asks him how his day was. Last Thursday, she wasn't prepared for what she was about to hear.
"He told me that his friend had threatened him in school, him and his other friend, to murder him with a knife the next day," she said. "[He] pulled out a pocket knife from his book bag and put it in his pocket."
The other student is 10 years old.
"[He said] 'mom, I don’t want to go to heaven early, please help me.' And so like any parent your heart breaks, I thought 'what do I do, what do I do?'" she said.
Balladares called school police, who found the knife the next day, she said.
"With the size of the knife that I saw I would probably be talking to you under different circumstances and, I’m scared to think about what could’ve happened," she said.
The student received a 10-day suspension. He's expected to return to school next month after spring break.
"The concerning part is after the ten days are up, he may or may not be able to return to the school. With my son still going to class," Balladares said. "To me, it’s unacceptable."
According to the school district's own code of conduct, a student with a weapon is supposed to face a mandatory expulsion.
In a statement, the district told NBC 6 it has been their practice to "not expel or suspend students in grades K-5. Due to the circumstances surrounding this case, we have recommended that the student be removed from the school setting. He has been recommended to a success center and will receive counseling. This incident, along with future consequences, remains under review."
"I have ten days, ten days to make sure this kid, the very kid who threatened my son, doesn’t go back to the school because I don’t want my son being put under that pressure," Balladares said.
Balladares said she was also upset the school didn't notify other parents about what happened. After NBC 6 started making phone calls, parents received an automated phone message letting them know an "isolated incident" happened on campus.
Photo Credit: NBC6.com