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Student suspected of plotting to harm classmates charged with battery

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Mar 27 2013 07:36:38 PM CDT

The suspect has been placed into a juvenile detention center while he waits for a court hearing on April 1st.

RIGBY, Idaho -

A student who allegedly plotted to harm classmates at Rigby Junior High has now been charged with battery.

The suspect has been placed into a juvenile detention center while he waits for a court hearing on April 1st.

Rigby Police say this student's plot to harm his classmates stemmed from bullying and he may even be a victim himself.

Long before Rigby Police discovered the student's arsenal of weapons -- including small caliber handguns, ammunition and knives -- an officer was looking into reports of bullying.

"The officer felt that there was more to what was going on with this young man and decided he needed to be evaluated," said Keith Hammon, Rigby Police Chief.

Police said the student was bullied, both at school and online.  He even started a fight with a fellow classmate.

"This is a juvenile reacting to that bullying, trying to take matters into his own hands," said Robin Dunn, Jefferson County Prosecutor.

Dunn said since the student never actually carried out his plan to harm students, it's unlikely he'll be charged with anything other than battery.

"When these events are thwarted before they happen, we need some legislation for pre-crimes, as criminal conduct is usually after the fact," said Dunn.

Even though police and school administrators prevented anything from happening, some parents have mixed feelings about sending their kids to school.

"Rumors had come home with my kids and they were upset and worried...I was frustrated," said Tenessa Buttars, a parent.

"They're okay," said Valerie Bowen, a parent. "It was just another normal day...they didn't have any fears."

And while the School District is facing a tight budget, administrators said they'll try to keep their school resource officers.

"Having an SRO in the school, immediately available, is a real advantage," said Ron Tolman, Jefferson School District Superintendent. "We hope that somehow we're able to preserve that in as many schools as possible."

Dunn said the state needs the legislature to react to pre-criminal activities; otherwise it's very difficult to prosecute cases like these where police were able to stop violent plans from happening.

The suspect is receiving mental health evaluations and treatment.

Rigby Police said the investigation is still continuing.

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