Following what appears to be a disturbing trend in area school districts, Hillsboro City Schools personnel found another bomb threat Wednesday, but the alleged suspects were caught before the school had to be evacuated.
Posted on the school district’s Facebook page around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and also sent out in a “one call” message shortly thereafter, were these words from superintendent Jim Smith: “We were made aware of a potential threat in the middle school boys restroom this morning. Fortunately, with diligent and timely communication from a staff member, the culprits were immediately identified, secured and served with the appropriate consequences. One of the individuals was actually escorted to the courts for an emergency hearing. Parents, we wish to assure you that students are safe and secure.”
Smith said the suspects, both middle school boys, have had past disciplinary issues with the school. He said that school resource officer Tim Bell immediately took one of the boys for an emergency court hearing.
The school board established Bell’s position just this summer.
Both alleged suspects have been suspended, Smith said.
The superintendent said a message was found on a bathroom wall saying that there was a bomb in the school. He said the staff knew that the restroom had been cleared around 9 a.m., then shortly thereafter two boys were caught exiting the restroom.
“Mr. Bell, the teachers and Mr. (Jason) Snively did some good work on this one,” Smith said. “Talk about swift justice.”
The Hillsboro schools had major trouble with bomb threats last spring. Beginning on March 18, at least five bomb threats interrupted classes in Hillsboro over next few weeks.
Since that time two juvenile males, one 13 and one 14, have been found to be delinquent children for violating the law against inducing panic in regard to the bomb threats. They were both given a suspended sentence of not less than one year or more in a Ohio Department of Youth Services correctional facility. The sentences also included serving 14 days in a detention center, performing 40 hours of community service, paying court costs, and being placed on community control indefinitely.
But the Hillsboro schools are not alone.
Wednesday in Wilmington, a juvenile was taken into custody after a bomb hoax at Wilmington Middle School, Wilmington Police Chief Duane Weyand reported.
Both the middle and high school buildings were evacuated, Weyand said.
“Within 30 minutes the responsible party was taken into custody,” he added.
The bomb threat consisted of a message written on a bathroom wall at the middle school, according to Weyand. School officials began evacuation and notification procedures. Detectives began investigating upon arrival, while patrol units aided with the evacuation, the chief said.
The juvenile will have a charge or charges filed against them later in the week by the Clinton County Juvenile prosecutor, a news release said.
Another Clinton County school, Clinton-Massie, had its fourth bomb threat in five days last week.
At the time, police said one teen had been arrested and another juvenile was identified as being responsible for two of the four incidents.
According to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, a 9-year-old student confessed to leaving a threatening note when an elementary school was safely evacuated.
“I don’t know if they think they’ll get out of school early or what,” Col. Brian Prickett of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office said at the time. “It baffles me what somebody’s thinking.”
The Wilmington News Journal contributed to this story.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.