Students arrested after threatening massacre at Belen Middle School

Posted at: 10/10/2012 4:37 PM
Updated at: 10/10/2012 11:36 PM
By: Tracy Dingmann & Danielle Flores,

Belen School Superintendent Ron Marquez says school officials have diverted a plan by several students to commit a massacre this Friday at Belen Middle School.

It is believed that up to seven "disgruntled' students were involved in the plot to commit violence at the school, he said.

Four students have been suspended - and two of those students have also been arrested, he said.

The other three are still being questioned.

Officials said at least one of the teens arrested has been kicked out of school for the rest of the year for previous fights and bullying. The others could face a year of suspension.

The administration learned of the plot late Monday, he said.

Belen Police Chief Dan Robb said the students claim to be gang members. School officials said the two students arrested have been involved in numerous fights at the school, and are accused of bullying other students.

More than 1,500 staff members, parents and students were notified of the situation Wednesday through a "reverse call" recorded phone message. It is a part of a system called "School Reach" that the school uses to quickly get information out through cell phones, land lines and even translates into text messages.

Parents are encouraged to attend school with their children on Friday so they can simply be around them the day the alleged threat was to be carried out.

Because schools are only allowed to suspend students for 10 days, the administration will seek long-term suspension of the students through the hearing process.

School leaders said the two students will remain in jail this coming Friday. So far, the teens have not been cooperative, according to Chief Robb. They have not admitted to planning a school shooting.

Officers searched the teens' homes and did not find any weapons, plans or drawings.