Sept. 28 story: Student, mother arrested at Park High School in Cottage Grove after rumor of planned fight involving a gun; no weapon foundA 17-year-old Park High School student and his mother were arrested Tuesday after school employees and Cottage Grove police investigated rumors a student was going to bring a handgun to a fight. The mother said police overreacted.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A 17-year-old Park High School student and his mother were arrested Tuesday after school employees and Cottage Grove police investigated rumors a student was going to bring a handgun to a fight.
No weapon was found when the student was questioned on Tuesday, but he was arrested for disorderly and disruptive behavior and after police allegedly recovered prescription drugs from his backpack. His mother was jailed for swearing at officers and acting belligerent and out of control, according to a police summary of the incident that occurred over the lunch hour near the school’s front entry.
Cottage Grove police Capt. Pete Koerner said talk of a gun possibly being used in a fight may have been nothing more than a student-fueled rumor, but it was treated seriously.
“The main thing was even as vague as the rumors were, (when) you hear there’s a gun we’re going to react,” Koerner said.
According to a police summary:
Park employees and the police department’s school resource officer learned on Monday of a possible fight planned between two students, including the 17-year-old later arrested. They met with both students, who said they were not going to fight.
Police and school staff received more information, indicating the fight was still possible and that a participant may bring a gun. They waited for the student to arrive at school at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was immediately directed to administrative offices and told of information police received about a gun.
“He claimed he never made mention of it,” Koerner said.
During the questioning, however, the student was being very protective of his backpack, according to police.
The student refused to cooperate with school staff and his mother was called. As police were escorting him from the building, he screamed profanities in a main hallway near the lunch room and did not follow directions from police.
While police were arresting the student on suspicion of disorderly conduct, his mother arrived and confronted police and school staff. She yelled profanities and was acting belligerent and out of control. Police arrested Lareva A. Smith, 34, of Cottage Grove, on suspicion of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. She and her son were transported to Washington County jail.
Police searched the 17-year-old’s backpack during his arrest and found about 100 prescription muscle-relaxants: 33 oxycodone pills, 39 clonazepam pills and 27 cyclobenzaprine pills, in addition to drug paraphernalia, according to police. He was jailed pending a juvenile petition for a felony second-degree drug charge, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process with force.
A friend of the arrested student will be questioned by police because he ran from the school during the incident.
Koerner said school staff and police handled the situation well by gathering information, determining when the suspect student would arrive at school and then diverting him for questioning when he showed up.
There was no immediate school disciplinary action against the student, but South Washington County Schools Communications Director Barb Brown said the district has policies related to student discipline and those will apply in this incident.