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Winters Parents Condemn District Over Middle School 'Hit-List'

WINTERS (CBS13) — A group of parents in Winters is upset with the school district, claiming it did not notify them of a potentially deadly incident.

About three weeks ago, school officials at Winters Middle School discovered a list of names made by a student, who referred to the list as a "hit-list".

District Superintendent Todd Cutler said the student made "A list of numerous names, local names, administrators, teachers, fictional characters, celebrities."

Winters police told CBS13 they did not find any evidence of a crime.

"The police were quick, it was handled and it was determined quickly there was no threat," said Cutler.

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The district says it notified parents of the children named on the list, right when the incident happened, but some say they weren't told anything until this week.

Winters Police Chief John Miller tells CBS13 the district was told by the FBI to notify parents, per FBI protocol.

Friends of the student told CBS13 it was a joke gone too far, and that the list was a "goodbye list" he had been putting together, for when he moves away next year.

"This kid needs to own his actions, the school needs to own its actions, and I do not want to hear as a parent, 'he did nothing wrong,'" said Esther Arellano-Hernandez.

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Arellano-Hernandez is upset with the Winters Joint Unified School District and how she says it handled the incident.

Hernandez' eighth-grade son was named in that list, and the most shocking part she says, "I know this kid, I've taken him to his house, it's scary."

The incident has parents criticizing the way the district handles potentially threatening situations.

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"Having a forum, having a meeting like this or having an assembly at the school would have been ideal," said Sarah Madsen, whose child's name was also on the list. "That's really where the ball has dropped, with communication."

Now, parents are banding together to come before the district's safety committee, to raise awareness about the signs leading to school violence.

"I feel this kid has some things that need to be dealt with, but I do not feel there is a threat," said another mom.

The Superintendent won't say what disciplinary action the student is facing. He said the district welcomes any feedback from parents moving forward.

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