Parents vow to block student's return to school

Tuesday, June 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Some parents in Fort Gibson are vowing to do all they can to fight the return to school of a boy who shot five classmates last year.

There is a possibility 13-year-old Seth Trickey may never return, since he is in the custody of the state Office of Juvenile Affairs. The judge in the case said the incarceration could last anywhere from 30 days to until Trickey is 19.

The boy was recommended to the Rader Diagnostic Treatment Center after Muskogee County Associate District Judge Tom Alford found him guilty of six counts of shooting with intent to kill and one count of bringing a gun on school property. Alford denied the prosecution's attempt to try Trickey as an adult.

Alford said he has faith in the juvenile justice system that the boy will be incarcerated for a long time, but admitted it isn't up to him. The only power Alford has is to place stipulations on the conditions should Trickey be released before age 19.

If there is a chance the boy could return to school, Superintendent Steve Wilmoth said the district would welcome him back "with open arms."

"We will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening," said Kathy Knowles, whose daughter, Savana, was among those wounded in the Dec. 6 shooting. "He will not be back or we will not be back. I don't want my daughter to face him."

Richard Schindel, whose son, Brad, was wounded, said he is confident Trickey will remain in juvenile detention until he is 19.

"The (victims') families were brought together and informed about Seth and we agreed sending him to Rader was the best," the elder Schindel told the Tulsa World. He said he would not agree to Trickey returning to school, "but I doubt that would happen."

Trickey's case will be reviewed by the court in six months, but the Muskogee County District Attorney's Office said the teen-ager has to obtain so many treatment points before he can move up to a level of release.

Danita Engleman, who prosecuted Trickey, said her office made no pledges on the time he would stay in the system.

"I think our office would take a really close look after obtaining the information we normally receive from the treatment facility where he is being treated ... to determine what progress he's made and whether he would be a risk to the public," she said.

If Trickey wants to return to Fort Gibson schools, it creates a gray area for school administrators, particularly since some parents do not want him back.

"There is no precedent for letting parents determine what every child has a right to, a free education," said school attorney Karen Long. "But districts will look at the effect of returning such a student will have on other students."

Long said other options are available such as alternative schools or home-based education through the district. But she said the main criteria will be what recommendations are made by counselors treating Trickey.

"There is no obligation one way or the other on letting Seth back into school until receiving all the information," Long said.