Reno High Teacher Suspended Over Knife Incident

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A Reno High School teacher was suspended for his alleged failure to immediately report a student's charge that a female classmate held a knife to his throat.

Science teacher Michael Slagle was suspended with pay pending an investigation of Thursday's incident, school officials said.

"Students have to have absolute faith and confidence that when they report an incident it will be taken seriously and not taken casually," Washoe County School District spokesman Steve Mulvenon told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Slagle, a district employee since 1984, said he was advised by the principal not to comment.

"I can't respond until early next week when I meet with the district," Slagle said Saturday.

Sophomore Andrew Bass said he was watching a movie in Slagle's class when a girl pulled his head back by his hair, placed a switchblade to his throat and threatened to kill him.

Bass said Slagle was not in the room at the time but he later told the teacher about it. Bass said he wanted to report it immediately to police, but Slagle told him: "Sit down; finish watching the movie. Why can't you guys get along?"

Bass reported the incident to school police after class.

The girl was arrested later that day on various charges, including possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Bass' mother demanded Slagle be fired and the 16-year-old suspect not be allowed to return to school.

"I just can't get this out of my mind," Sharon Bass said. "I am so happy he was not hurt, but I am in disbelief about the way this was handled."

It was the fifth case involving a weapon on campus this school year in the county.