The family and supporters of a middle school student who was the subject of death threats made by a classmate spoke out at this week’s school board meeting.
The series of texts between Indian Land Middle students containing the murder threat were discovered on Jan. 17.
Eleven out of 14 public forum comments at the Tuesday, Feb. 21, school board meeting concerned the district’s involvement in the case. Natalie and Ben Lesnefsky, parents of the victim, and their daughters, Sophia and Sienna, each gave their own statement.
Natalie Lesfensky said the district has fundamentally failed to ensure her children’s safety, and that her daughters will be leaving the school district.
The situation has been ongoing for the last four weeks, and she said while her daughters have been in school during that time, they have struggled.
“We just feel like at this point, our school district, the administration themselves, are incompetent at keeping our children safe,” she said. “We’re concerned now about other situations as well, like if they didn’t consider this a serious threat, then they could miss something else.”
Sophia Lesnefsky, the subject of the murder threat, said in her statement that she feels like she has been put through more than a victim should ever have to endure.
“My grades have dropped because I don’t know what I’m doing in school,” she said. “Yet the aggressor is still at school, seeing his friends and learning.”
Sophia said she and her sister followed their side of the protocol, and asked why the district could not say the same.
“I am sad and I’ve cried because the school district forced us to leave this school,” said her sister, Sienna Lesnefsky, through tears.
Both girls were met with applause from the crowd when they finished speaking.
Many speakers asked the board when the violent threat policy will be published on the school district’s website, and warned the district to address safety concerns before Indian Land is subjected to a bigger threat.
“We are asking you to follow your own motto of putting our children first,” Ben Lesfensky said.
A statement from a mother and mental health professional named Lourdes, read by her friend, called the school board to action.
“As leaders of this community, I urge you to do the single most important task you will ever accomplish in your careers,” Lourdes said. “Do whatever it takes to prevent Indian Land from becoming the next Uvalde in the news.”
Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in a mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.
School board protocol says the board cannot respond to comments in the public session, but speakers should expect to receive a response within a month.