Kent woman charged in school threat seeks change in bond terms

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

A Kent woman accused of making a shooting threat at Davey Elementary School has asked a judge to lift a court order preventing her from contacting any of the school's employees.

According to court documents, Akron attorney Kirk Migdal filed the request to change the terms of the bond for his client, Rachiel A. Gauntner, because school employees "contacted the defendant to set up a meeting regarding the continued education of the defendant's son."

Kent police arrested Gauntner and charged her with felony aggravated menacing Feb. 1 after she allegedly threatened to bring a weapon to the Prospect Street school and commit an act of violence during a conversation with a teacher about her son's education the day before. The teacher alerted school administrators the day of the threat, but did not contact police until the next day.

The charge has been amended to aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor. Gauntner pleaded not guilty and was released on bond Feb. 11.

Kent Superintendent Joe Giancola said school employees contacted Gauntner because her child has a disability, and federal law requires the school to involve parents of disabled students in educational planning. He said a restraining order issued by a local judge did not change that fact.

"We still have to carry out the federal statute (to) carry out a student's educational program," he said.

Justin Gates, director of student services for Kent City Schools, said the district wanted to reach out to Gauntner in order to set the terms for the federally mandated meeting.

"We wanted to offer to meet off-site, off of any Kent City Schools property," Gates said.

School officials are required to meet with parents of disabled students "at least annually," and some times more often, depending on the characteristics of a student's disability, Gates said.

Gauntner has not yet met with school officials. Gates said if she does, an administrator, an intervention specialist and a general education teacher also will be present.

The district also may ask for additional security if the meeting takes place.

"That's certainly something we are looking at," Gates said.

Gauntner is scheduled to appear in the Kent branch of Portage County Municipal Court Thursday for a pretrial hearing.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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