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Some Question Why Student in Custody for Summerville Shooting Plot was Allowed Back to School After Similar Threat

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TUOLUMNE COUNTY --

As four students remain in juvenile custody after plotting a mass shooting at Summerville Union High School in Tuolomne County, one woman claims the school district failed to recognize warning signs that an incident like this could occur.

Kathleen Nelson's granddaughter is a Summerville student. While news that four students planned a mass shooting was a shock to many parents, for Nelson and her granddaughter, it was deja vu.

"She was scared, very, very scared. Didn't want to go to school," Nelson said.

Nelson says one student was expelled at Twaine Harte grade school, where her granddaughter was a student last year, for a similar mass shooting plan. She has reason to believe her granddaughter was on that student's "kill list."

That plot got one student expelled with a recommendation not to be allowed back into the public school system.

The same student, Nelson says, was among the four arrested for the shooting plot at Summerville.

"We felt like our granddaughter wasn't protected by the school system. We have questioned it, and we have got no answers," Nelson said.

Nelson doesn't think that student should have been back in public school so soon.

According to one school official who didn't want to be identified, once a student is expelled from the district, the county school superintendent's office normally keeps them out for an extra semester, to make sure they get the psychological help they need.

In this case, however, that never happened. That student, now in custody, was back in class this fall.

FOX40 visited the superintendent's office during its normal business hours for clarification on the expulsion rule, and why the student in question was allowed to return to normal classes. The superintendent was unavailable and didn't return any calls or messages for comment.

Tragedy was averted because of a diligent student who turned the plotters in to school officials, preventing a possible mass school shooting. Nelson says it was much too close, however, and she blames the school system.

"They need to see that these children are getting the help that they obviously need," Nelson said.

Those four students have a court hearing Oct. 13, to determine whether they'll be released from custody. Right now, they are getting mental health evaluations.