The parents of a middle-school pupil who was expelled after the discovery of an alleged hit list say the incident was a harmless prank that has been blown out of proportion.

The 12-year-old boy's parents acknowledged their son started the note, which listed the names of several adults and pupils, but said classmates wrote some of the names as well as the words "2 kill.""What we want the public to know is this kid is harmless," the boy's mother, who asked that her name not be used, told The Tri-City (Wash.) Herald on Thursday.

Kennewick schools Superintendent Paul Rosier said the district would not respond to the family's comments. The school board is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday.

The boy was expelled from Park Middle School after another pupil alerted a teacher to the list last month. School officials would not discuss details of the investigation.

The boy is receiving homework from school but is not allowed to take tests while an appeal to the school board is under way.

Kennewick police investigated but decided against filing charges.