Two students who admitted responsibility for two recent bomb threats – one in Hillsboro and one in Greenfield – faced the judge in Highland County Juvenile Court on Wednesday.
The student from Hillsboro, a 12-year-old male, admitted to a reduced charge of first-degree misdemeanor making false alarms.
According to Highland County Assistant Prosecutor Molly Bolek, the charge was reduced based on a lack of evidence to support a second-degree felony charge of inducing panic. She said the 12-year-old admitted to writing the threat of a bomb on the wall shortly after the threat was found, and the matter was dealt with immediately. She said the school was never evacuated.
All of that, Bolek said, meant that there wasn’t enough evidence to support an allegation that “serious public inconvenience or alarm” had occurred, which has to have happened to support the inducing panic charge. She said the school and the officer who investigated the matter were in agreement with the reduced charge.
After the 12-year-old admitted that he was responsible for the bomb threat written on a wall at Hillsboro Middle School on Sept. 28, Judge Kevin Greer followed the recommendation of the state and ordered that the youngster, who has been held in detention since the date of the incident, spend 90 days at West Central Juvenile Detention Center in Troy. When he is released he will be on community control and is to perform 40 hours of community service.
According to his father, the 12-year-old has been expelled from school until February.
Greer said the student had engaged in “bad decision making” that had caused himself and his family problems over the last few months.
After the hearing, Bolek said the boy’s history was a consideration in making the recommendation to West Central.
In another hearing, a 13-year-old male admitted to writing a bomb threat on the wall of a classroom at Greenfield Middle School on Oct. 24, an action that caused the evacuation of not only the middle school, but McClain High School and the Greenfield Elementary building.
He was charged with inducing panic, which is typically a misdemeanor offense but is elevated to a second-degree felony since the event occurred at a school.
According to his attorney, Denny Kirk, the teenager had written the threat on the wall and intended to erase it, but it never got erased.
Greer asked the 13-year-old his reason for making the bomb threat.
“I’m not sure why I did it,” he said, and told the judge that no one put him up to making the threat.
Kirk presented the judge with three letters obtained by the teen’s parents. After reading the letters, Greer said that “people obviously think this is out of character for you.” The judge said now the 13-year-old had to prove that it is out of character. Greer said the teen had violated the trust of a lot of people, and he had let his parents down.
“You made a mistake. Learn from it and become a better person for it,” Greer said. He told the student to work at “gaining back (his) reputation as a responsible young person.”
The 13-year-old was ordered to serve two weeks in detention, is to perform 40 hours of community service, will be on community control, and has a suspended commitment to the Department of Youth Services, which is Ohio’s prison system for youth.
According to his father, the teenager was suspended from school, but the matter of expulsion is yet to be decided.
The Oct. 24 bomb threat was the second this year for Greenfield schools, with the first occurring earlier in October. The 14-year-old male who admitted making the earlier bomb threat was recently ordered to Miami Valley Juvenile Rehabilitation Center.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.