Phoenix-area father claims teen son was bullied after reporting school threat

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Boulder Creek High student bullied after reporting threat. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Boulder Creek High student bullied after reporting threat. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
James Hanford's son was bullied after reporting a school threat. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) James Hanford's son was bullied after reporting a school threat. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
ANTHEM, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

To prevent a shooting, students are told, “If you see something, say something.” One Phoenix-area family say their son did just that and got bullied for it.

It started with a late night Snapchat message to James Hanford’s son from another student, threatening to kill himself.

“My son, being the kindhearted kid that he is, tried to talk him through it,” said Hanford.

[RELATED: Man arrested after posting online threat against South Pointe High in Phoenix]

The next morning Hanford says the messages continued. This time they were scary. 

“They actually received another Snapchat from the kid with a video of him loading guns and putting them in a bag. And he said 'I’m going to shoot up first hour, and then I’m going to kill you,” the father said.

Hanford's son went to administrators. The district called authorities and says the student in question was detained within minutes.

[RELATED: PD: Scottsdale student arrested after posing with fake gun, making threat on social media]

No guns were found and the student claimed it was just a joke.

Hanford's son was not the only one to receive this message and report it to the school.

Hanford says that student then retaliated, knowing his son was among those who turned him in.

“He got on the group chat and spread these wild rumors that my son tried to tell him to commit suicide,” said Hanford.

[RELATED: 4 gun-related incidents at AZ high schools prompt call for metal detectors]

He says the next day at school his son was bullied. “My son ended up being called a snitch, ended up having to pretty much defend himself that whole entire day,” said Hanford. “They heckled my son and treated him so badly he had to leave and go sit in the drama room and he was not able to eat his lunch."

The bullying even got physical. Hanford says his son eventually retaliated and was written up. “The thing that pains me and breaks my heart is that the same people that [sic] he protected, (and) didn't even know all of them, are the same people that [sic] lashed out at him and called him a snitch and told him that he was wrong for going and telling that this happened."

Hanford says his son has not returned to school since. 

[RELATED: Police investigating online threat against elementary school in Gilbert]

The Deer Valley School District says if there's ever a problem with bullying, parents need to tell administrators what's going on so they can investigate.

It says in this case, the district says no formal complaint has been filed but added Hanford did request a meeting with the principal for Tuesday morning.

“There should be some things in place that empower the students, that empowers [sic] the staff, that empowers the administration, that empowers [sic] the district,” said Hanford.

The district cannot comment on what punishment the student who made the threat received.

The district also says if a student comes forward with a tip about a threat, their name is kept anonymous.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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