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'Shock and fear': Parent says sixth-grader was threatened while in school

The Johnston Community School District says both incidents at Summit Middle School were investigated, and there was no credible threat.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Allegations of threats against students of color and those that identify as LGBTQ+ have some parents in the Johnston Community School District outraged. 

Now, those parents are calling for changes to be made.

Temeshia Bomato is one of those parents. She has multiple children in the Johnston Community School District, one of them in sixth grade at Summit Middle School. 

She said recently, her sixth-grader received a threat while in school. 

The threat originated from a student in her child's class telling her child  "If I had a gun and a bullet I would shoot you."

Bomato noted it's something she never expected her child to deal with.

"My immediate reaction was shock and fear for my child's safety," she said. "I can't consciously stay quiet when these instances of violence and threats of violence against minority students continue to ramp up."

During Local 5's conversation with Bomato, she mentioned there had been other threats toward students of color and students who identify as LGBTQ+ in the school district this year.

Local 5 reached out to Lynn Meadows, the district's communication director, to ask about these threats. 

She sent a statement that said in part: 

"There were two separate incidents at Summit Middle School two weeks ago where a verbal threat was made by a student, indicating he was going to cause harm to students at Summit. One of these incidents involved an LGBTQ+ student. We would NOT say that 'threats against students of color and LGBTQ+ students are prevalent.' The Johnston Police Department investigated both incidents. In consultation with the police and in speaking with the students and families, we have every reason to believe these were isolated incidents and there is no credible threat."

Bomato, along with other parents in the Johnston Parents for Equity and Anti-Racism group and students in the school district, said those incidents along with a student bringing a firearm on a bus last week, have them outraged.

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So they planned to take those frustrations to Monday's school board meeting. 

Akshara Eswar, a co-executive state director of March for our Lives Iowa and a student in the school district, said because of the recent events, her group planned to talk about gun legislation and ask those eligible to vote, to make the right decision during the next election. 

 "We're bringing light to the midterms in November and asking everyone to flip their ballots and vote no on the reckless gun amendment or strict scrutiny."

Bomato said she hopes parents' opinions lead the district to make substantial changes to help keep children safe at school.

"As far as threats between students or assault between students, there needs to be a policy in place that addresses that," Bomato said.

The parent noted her child's schedule was changed so she wouldn't have to interact with the student who threatened her.

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