Education

Columbia High School student who allegedly made 'hit list' of classmates is expelled

A Columbia High School student who allegedly made a "hit list" of students and sketched out a plan to take action has been expelled from the school.

The school board for Columbia Community Unit School District 4 voted on the expulsion Monday night, after listening to parents' concerns. The high school did not notify parents of the threats made until six days after learning of them. Some parents said the district wasn't taking the threats serious enough, including Nathan Vineyard, the father of a 16-year-old student at the top of the alleged list.

"I'm glad he's been punished, and hopefully he gets help and can recover for this," Vineyard said Tuesday. "I never want to see a kid negatively impacted at 16 for life. At the core though, I'm very upset with the district and school board."

Vineyard said he still thinks the district isn't taking the threats seriously enough. He said if the district won't do more to ensure student safety, then he plans to transfer his son to Belleville East.

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Superintendent Gina Segobiano said once the school was informed of the threat, the student was immediately removed from the school. She said Tuesday that she could only verify that the board expelled an unnamed student. But shortly after the threats were made, she had said the school board would make the decision on whether the student who made the threats would be expelled.

Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul said his department investigated the threats and passed all information to the Monroe County State's Attorney to determine if charges could be filed. Chris Hitzemann, the state's attorney, did not respond for comment Tuesday.

After parents were notified of the threat, Principal Brian Reeves addressed the high school's student body.

"It has been brought to my attention some of you are concerned about a Facebook post," Reeves said. "As with many things you read on social media, there were some inaccuracies. ... The security of all the students and staff in this building is of the utmost importance to me. I do not take that lightly. The fact is, there was a threat. Students brought that information to the office. The matter was investigated, and the student faces severe discipline for his comments."

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