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Bomb threat case solved

Warren Elementary student implicated

March 25, 2008
By Brad Bauer,
A bomb threat that closed Warren Elementary School Monday morning was made by a seventh-grader who was upset his spring break was cut short, police said.

Spring break was scheduled for this week, but the district needed to make up days after a number of snow closings.

Police said the 13-year-old is now likely to get a longer break than expected. He faces suspension or expulsion from the school, plus, he was charged with being delinquent by inducing panic. The crime carries a possible penalty of six-months up to age 21 in a youth detention center. If committed by an adult, the bomb threat would be considered a fourth-degree felony.

The student’s name is not being released because he is a minor.

Warren Elementary Superintendent Tom Gibbs said a threatening message was left on the school’s answering machine Friday. A secretary retrieved the message around 8:30 a.m. Monday because students and staff were not at the school because of the Good Friday holiday.

“We decided to play it safe and we diverted all buses and students to Warren High School,” Gibbs said.

Classes at the school were scheduled to begin Monday at 9 a.m.

For nearly two hours officers, teachers and custodians searched for any evidence of a bomb at the school.

“We opened all of the lockers, went through all of the classrooms, storage rooms and outbuildings,” said Detective Brian Schuck. “Faculty members assisted us by helping to identify anything that might have been out of place.”

By noon Monday a student had confessed, Schuck said.

“He just thought it would be funny to call in a threat,” Schuck said. “He didn’t think it would go this far. It did, though. It took us two hours to sweep the school, kids were bused out to the high school, it was quite an inconvenience.”

Warren Elementary School Principal Stephanie Starcher said concerned parents pulled about 100 of the 511 students out of school for the remainder of classes on Monday.

Classes resumed around 11:10 a.m.

Julie Bates, 30, of Marietta, said she decided to take home her third-grader after the threat.

“I think the school and everyone in the district does a great job of trying to keep our kids safe,” Bates said. “But I just want to keep her home today to make sure she’s OK and not too scared.”

Gibbs said parents were notified about the threat through various media outlets. The school does not have an automated telephone notification system.

Bates said she was at work and was notified by her mother, who learned of the bomb threat through a television report.

“She was hysterical,” Bates said. “And it scared me, too.”

As of Monday afternoon, no court dates or school disciplinary hearings had been set for the student.

Gibbs said the bomb threat was the second in his district in two years. Last year a threat was called into Little Hocking Elementary School. He said the student responsible for that threat was identified and prosecuted in Athens County Juvenile Court.

Article Photos

BRAD BAUER The Marietta Times
Washington County sheriff's deputies leave Warren Elementary School Monday after seaching the grounds for a bomb. A 13-year-old student is charged with calling in the threat.

Fact Box

Possible penalties for making threats
Threatening a school or public place in Ohio is a fourth-degree felony.
¯ Juveniles face an indefinite commitment into a Department of Youth Services detention center. Commitments range from six-months up until age 21.
¯ Adults face up to 18-months in prison and a $5,000 fine.



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