Parents of the Bartlesville teen who made threats against a middle school are speaking out

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — Parents of a 13-year-old who was recently arrested due to making threats against a Bartlesville middle school, Damion and Cheyenne Pickett, said their son is now criminally charged and in juvenile custody.

The Picketts said the threat was verbal and made due to bullying their son has been facing for years.

“I don’t own a firearm, I don’t need to, and he absolutely has no access to one,” Damion said.

The verbal and physical abuse they said their son has dealt with has led them to filing multiple reports to the police and the school.

“I’ve reported it to the police, the school, the superintendant,” Damion said. “I’ve reported it to everybody we possibly can. It got so bad we took my son out of school for a year and homeschooled him.”

Despite these reports, The Picketts said the bullying and harassment has never stopped. Last year, they had decided to pull their son out of school in favor of online learning, but they allowed him to return this year due to struggles he had with the virtual learning atmosphere.

As soon as their son returned, they said the bullying continued.

“He literally will not leave the house unless he’s with an adult.” Damion claimed.

Damion said their son has been hit many times and is even afraid to ride the bus to school.

On Wednesday, police arrived at the Picketts home to take their son into custody.

“I don’t condone anything that was said or done and I told my son he messed up,” Damion said. “That was wrong, you [he] should have never done that.”

The Picketts claimed Bartlesville Public Schools (BPS) never followed up with the bullying reports they filed and did not do enough to help their child before it came to this.

Damion said they don’t blame the school entirely, but they do blame them a large part because that is where the alleged bullying happened.

FOX23 reached out to BPS and they referred us to their bullying policy online.

It read, every report of bullying is investigated and parents will be notified of the outcome and, if necessary, juvenile affairs handles the disciplinary action.

But, the Picketts claim they have never been notified of any resolutions.

The parents said they want the school to adopt a zero tolerance bullying policy and that acts of bullying should be taken as seriously as their son’s alleged threat.

Bartlesville Police provide BPS with six school resource officers (SRO) who help with the investigations. They said their place in the school is to help troubled kids and be a positive influence.

Sgt. Chris Neal said, they are not at the school to get kids in trouble, but to put them on the right path.

Bartlesville Public Schools Director of Health and Safety Kerry Ickleberry provided a statement on this matter:

“We can not comment on an individual case; however when we are notified of an allegation of bullying or any harm to anyone, we take it very seriously and the school investigates.

Our goal is to always take the appropriate action to keep everyone safe. We want to create a safe environment and culture where everyone can come to school to feel safe and receive their education.

If a student is being bullied or hurt in anyway we investigate and appropriate action is taken. Our policy will explain our guidelines and possible outcomes. We consider every threat seriously and conduct a threat assessment.

Creating a safe environment for all is our main objective because we want everyone to feel safe so that they can attend school and receive their education.

We have added different layers of protection and ways for students to report concerns rather that is to talk to the teacher the principal or the counselor or school resource officer or they could email their Principal they can use their own chrome book which they take home and use the app installed on it called P3 Tips. They can use it to report any concern anonymously. Admin receive those and are able to text the student back in order to receive more information.

We have six SROs and are working with the police department so that we can get three more, when they are ready for us to have them, so each school will have their own school resource officer.

Those officers are mentors, educators and counselors for our students and the students can report things to them that are concerning because we take everything very serious. We want our students to feel safe and we want our staff to feel safe.

We have safe school committees that have teachers, students and parents on so that they can talk to us and let us know if there’s anything in the school that does not make them feel safe.”