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Threats at RISD middle school appeared before Parkland shooting; Middle schools’ public records reveal instances of bullying, alleged sexual misconduct

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Threats of violence were repeatedly made at a Roswell Independent middle school last fall according to a collection of incident and arrests reports obtained in continuation of a public records inspection at the Roswell Police Department.

The analysis is specifically aimed toward RISD schools within Roswell’s city limits. As a result, Berrendo Middle School and Mountain View Middle School are excluded, aside from one report where the RPD followed up on a call from the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office.

The records request, pursuant to New Mexico’s Inspection of Public Records Act, focused on all arrest and incident reports made in the fall, specifically from Aug. 10, 2017 to Dec. 22.

This article is the second piece of a three-part series divided by school level.

Sierra

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Of Sierra Middle School’s 34 reports with police, there were a total of 11 juvenile citations issued to students — six boys, five girls — all of which were public affray. Police also responded to three reports of threats at Sierra.

In one instance, the school’s principal contacted police after an unknown student made a threat to bring a gun to school and shoot another student.

After police spoke with multiple students, police made contact with a 14-year-old boy who told authorities he was the one who made the threat.

The boy told police he wanted to shoot another student after he “started to talk crap to him” the day before during a sporting event.

Police state in their report the boy said he had even thought about leaving the game and waiting to beat up the student down an alley. The boy also told authorities he did have access to firearms, noting his mother’s .380 pistol and his father’s .22 caliber rifle.

“(He) stated that he would not use his parents’ guns to do anything stupid,” the report stated. “(He) stated that he was very upset when (the other student) approached him and talked crap to him, but now realizes (the other student) is not worth him getting in trouble over.”

The 14-year-old who had made threats, as well as two other students, mentioned that the boy who was threatened often picks on students smaller and younger than himself and is a bully.

Another incident took place after a female student had passed a note to another student, which stated there was going to be a shootout the following day and warned the student not to come to school. According to the report, the note was a prank. The student was disciplined per school policy.

A reported threat at Sierra came after an unknown female student made a bomb threat written on the wall of a bathroom stall in red marker, stating, “boo Im gonna bomb school on Tuesday.” This incident was reported Aug. 31.

According to records, Sierra has been subject to four reports of battery. One particular incident of public affray occurred when a boy agreed to fight another boy over a necklace after lunch.

There were three incident reports pertaining to bullying — all of which were from the same altercation.

Police reported an incident involving a male student suggestively trying to touch a female student.

The police department’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID) was also forwarded a criminal sexual contact of a minor case. According to the reported victim’s mother, her 12-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted by her coach. The daughter had told her mother that her coach took her into the girl’s locker room and touched her. According to an update in early February from the RPD’s public information officer, Todd Wildermuth, the school’s principal was informed of the alleged incident and investigation.

“Based on the results of the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue charges,” Wildermuth said. “So, the case is now closed.”

There were also two incidents of larceny and two incidents of graffiti, one of which involved markings on a girl’s bathroom stall. Another instance occurred when the school’s principal reported two male students who drew what police described as a “3-foot male genital” on a wall of the school’s gymnasium. Damages to the wall were estimated at $100.

Police responded to a report of a criminal damage of windows valued at $500. In a separate incident, there was a report of arson at a boy’s bathroom. According to police, they observed smoke coming from a trash can and noted that only the liner inside the container had melted. Authorities said school officials were able to identify the person responsible, but that there was not any evidence to support said information.

Sierra also experienced embezzlement after 24 sewing machines were reported stolen. Police said the case was referred to CID for further investigation.

Police responded to three calls of narcotics being found, one was a result of the school’s assistant principal contacting police about a substance she needed to give the RPD.

According to the incident report, the reporting officer said he was never told the circumstances that led to the discovery of the marijuana by school staff. Police said the marijuana and plastic tube was booked into evidence.

In another incident, police learned from a security officer at the school that a student was in possession of marijuana. Police said the security officer was told by a student he had found the marijuana in the boy’s locker room and decided to keep it. The marijuana was in a small plastic container that was for a memory card. Police said they made a request for the marijuana to be destroyed.

Authorities were also dispatched to a found property incident when the school’s principal told police a smoking device had been found at the playground. Police said the device would be destroyed.

Mesa

While Mesa Middle School generated a total of 45 reports, nine prior incident reports accompanied some juvenile citations due to booking evidence.

Police issued a total of 22 juvenile citations — 14 boys and eight girls.

Of these citations, there were seven for public affray, six for battery and nine were related to either possession of controlled substances or the possession or manufacturing of drug paraphernalia.

Police reported seven battery incidents and one report of public affray.

Examples of such include a male student slapping a female student in the face, a boy pulling a female student’s hair toward his genitals and grabbing her breast while in class, a fight between two girls who claimed “south side” and “east side,” and a female student who was jumped by two girls after she had stated she did not want to fight.

According to reports, one of the two girls who was issued a juvenile citation told police the victim “deserved it” because she was talking “crap.” This girl added to authorities she was not sorry and did not care.

Mesa was also the site of a fight between coaches Gabriel Flores-Delara and Thomas Davis in September 2017. According to previous reports, Davis eventually pleaded no contest to a charge of battery as part of a plea agreement.

In an additional report of battery, a middle-school boy allegedly kicked a female student’s ankle and then punched her in the rib cage. According to the incident report, the school’s assistant principal told police this was the third time the female student had been battered by the student. Police said CYFD has custody of the student who battered the girl.

There was also an arrest for a mother and a teacher with outstanding warrants.

According to a criminal complaint in municipal court, teacher Alan C. French was charged with assault, criminal damage to property and criminal trespass in August 2017 for a non-school-related incident.

Mesa was also subject to an enticement of a child incident in November 2017, where 25-year-old Alonso Barrientos, a former RPD recruit officer, was charged with two counts of child solicitation.

Barrientos had worked for the RPD as a police service aide for nearly two and a half years and was training to become a police officer and had been assisting an RPD school resource officer at Mesa Middle School.

A jury trial for Barrientos is set for July 12 before Chaves County District Judge Dustin K. Hunter. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Michael Thomas while Barrientos is to be represented by Ruidoso defense attorney Gary Mitchell.

Ryan E. Nieto, an individual unrelated to the school, was charged with failure to pay fines during a traffic stop at 12:32 a.m. Dec. 14 in front of Mesa Middle School.

Authorities also made a report of a runaway after a 13-year-old boy ran from school employees one morning and did not return to school or home. Police said the boy was entered into National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a runaway.

However, the next day, police made contact with the student at the school, where he told authorities he was at a friend’s house. The student was later removed from NCIC.

A larceny pickpocket report was made after an iPhone 7 was reported missing from a student’s backpack.

Mountain View

Only one report of child abuse was available from the RPD. According to the incident report, an RPD officer learned from the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office that a juvenile girl did not return home the day before, but did attend school. According to what the student told police, she had experienced physical abuse from her father. Police said they had not observed any signs of battery aside from recent cuts on the girl’s wrist. The RPD’s CID was requested to review the case for further action.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.