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    Seventh-grader with knife arrested

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001

    SEMINOLE -- A seventh-grader at Seminole Middle School was arrested Friday afternoon after classmates alerted school officials he had a knife, authorities said.

    The Largo 12-year-old was charged with possession of a weapon on school property, a felony. His name is being withheld because of his age.

    "It seems in the last few weeks more students are willing to come forward and tell those in authority information about weapons or threats at bay area schools," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Greg Tita said.

    A classmate told the school resource officer the boy was carrying a knife and that the boy had threatened to use it to assault someone. The boy was then pulled from his seventh-period class and authorities found he had a 3-inch pocketknife, Tita said.

    The boy was taken to the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center. Pinellas County Schools spokesman Ron Stone said the student will be suspended for 10 days and typically such a charge also results in the student being reassigned to another school.

    Since Monday's school shooting at a high school near San Diego, area schools have seen a troubling rash of copycat threats.

    Two Carwise Middle School students were suspended this week, one for joking that he was bringing a bomb to school and a second for bringing a butter knife to school and showing it to a student who had teased him.

    At Meadowlawn Middle School in St. Petersburg, a 17-year-old was arrested Tuesday after he showed up with a gun.

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