Santa Barbara- S County

Carpinterians Divided Over Restraining Order Against Teen

Teacher Feels Threatened; Mom Calls It "Backlash"

CARPINTERIA, Calif. - The community of Carpinteria is divided over what to do about an autistic teenager with a mental disorder, who threatend several people in his special education program.

Now, with mentally troubled young men tied to shootings in New Hope, Connecticut and Isla Vista, the conflict in Carpinteria has taken on a new urgency; some call it "backlash."

Late December, Kevin Hosseini was being treated at a mental health facility in Ventura. During his nearly two week stay, the teen made disturbing and deadly threats against several people, including his special ed teacher and a classmate.

"According to all the police reports, it was pretty explicit that Kevin was going to bring a knife to school, stab me, two assistants, a student in my class," said Cindy Rief, Hosseini's former special education teacher. "Then (he would) go to the high school, stab another teacher and then shoot himself when police came."

Rief says she was advised by at least seven sheriff's deputies to file a restraining order, which she did.

Kevin's mother, Debra, doesn't dispute the fact that Kevin made the threats, however, she insists he never threatened to kill himself.  She claims the threats were made during a difficult change in her son's medications.

Debra described her son as dual-diagnosed with autism and schizoaffective disorder and shudders at any comparisons made between the Isla Vista gunman or any other mentally ill suspect, and her son.

Debra said stress from the restraining order and legal troubles forced her to move from Carpinteria to San Diego County.

"He had what is called a "psychotic break," said Debra. "That is when somebody's out of control and they don't really know what they're saying or doing."

Rief said at the time, she felt an extra threat: she said the school district did nothing to beef up security -- even when it was believed Kevin would be back on campus.

Debra says her six foot teen, who can't tie his own shoes, is under 24-hour supervision in an Ohio facility -- getting excellent treatment -- for another six months.

"Kevin has never directly threatened his teacher," Debra said. "It was only in a mental health hospital, he has never hurt her and I don't see a need for a restraining order."

Rief disagrees and worries about her safety, six months from now, without something in place.

"I honestly feel when somebody with mental illness and a combination of autism, when things are not in sync, that can be dangerous," she said.

Carpinteria school superintendent Paul Cordero told NewsChannel 3, when it comes to security, safety and privacy, the district is trying to be fair to everyone. Cordero said the district has spent the past four months investigating both sides of this case and hopes to have it wrapped up by the end of the month.

The case is due in Santa Barbara Superior Court June 16th.

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