Colville monitor describes how he helped avert potential student attack



Posted on February 27, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 11:37 AM

COLVILLE, Wash. -- Richard Payette woke up with a tug on his heart February 7 -- the same day he helped avert a potential tragedy at Fort Colville Elementary School.

"I was in my living room praying. I said 'God, if there are any weapons at school, please let me find them," he said.

Payette was monitoring the children during breakfast when a fourth grader came up to him and told him he saw a kid on the bus with a knife. The child pointed to a fifth grader. When Payette approached the fifth grader, he denied having a knife. Payette had a feeling something wasn’t right.

The monitor then tracked down the boy’s friend, another fifth grader.

“That’s when I went to his backpack hanging on the hook in the back of the classroom. That’s when I found the knife and the gun," Payette said.

With the help of school counselor Debbie Rogers, Payette separated the two boys, and soon found out a third student was involved.

Payette said he felt shock and sadness as the boys allegedly divulged their plan to kill one student and hurt at least six others.

The conversation hit Payette later. He still gets emotional thinking about what could have happened.

Colville School District leaders honored Payette and Rogers with letters of commendation and a golden apple for helping to stop what could have been a terrible tragedy.

The fourth grade student who pointed the boys out was also honored.