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School threats on the rise after Colorado shootings

May 13, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

At least 14 students in the Tri-State area have been charged with making school-related threats in the wake of the April 20 rampage at a Colorado high school.

A 14-year-old Hancock Middle-Senior High School student was charged May 6 in connection with a May 4 incident in which Principal Robert Myers received a written bomb threat.

Hancock Police Chief Donald Gossage said Thursday the note probably was meant as a joke but no one is taking these cases lightly after the deaths at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

Department of Juvenile Justice authorities said Thursday the youth, who was released to his parents, would go through a formal juvenile court hearing on the charge.

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In other Washington County incidents:




* Maryland State Fire Marshals charged a 14-year-old Smithsburg High School student on April 23 with making a false rumor about a bomb.

Officers from the Smithsburg Police Department interviewed the teenager after he was overheard making a threatening remark.

The youth, who was released to the custody of his parents, was suspended from school, according to fire marshals.

The Smithsburg boy also faces a formal juvenile hearing before a Washington County Circuit judge.

* A 16-year-old evening high school student was sent to the Noyes Detention Center in Rockville, Md., on April 30 to await a formal hearing for making threats to blow up the school.

n of file A 14-year-old Boonsboro High School student was sent to Noyes on May 6 pending a hearing on a threat to bring guns or bombs to school.

* A case of a 14-year-old girl who allegedly sent threatening e-mail messages to other students from a home computer in late April is being reviewed by the Washington County State's Attorney's office.

Elsewhere in the Tri-State area:

* Two 17-year-old boys have been charged in connection with a May 7 bomb threat that emptied 25 schools in Berkeley County, W.Va.

One of the boys was sent to a youth home in Salem, W.Va., to await his hearing while the other was allowed to go home with his parents, prosecutors said.

* Three middle school students in Frederick County, Md., were charged after an investigation revealed they fashioned and intended to use an "improvised incendiary device," authorities alleged.

The two 13-year-olds and a 12-year-old attended New Market Middle School, according to the State Fire Marshal's Office.

The New Market youths were released to the custody of their parents and each will go before juvenile justice officials. The three have been suspended from school.

* A 14-year-old Frederick boy was charged with threatening to blow up an explosive device after a bomb threat was called into the school. The boy was released to his mother, deputies said.

* In Frederick, two 14-year-old boys were charged in late April with making a threat of arson to burn the Heather Ridge School.

* A Fannett-Metal Middle School student in Willow Hill, Pa., was charged in late April with making terroristic threats.

In a case in which no one has been charged, a telephoned bomb threat closed Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., on April 28. A reward has been offered for information on the identity of that caller.

Reports and rumors of threats at schools followed the April 20 rampage at Columbine High School in which 12 students and one teacher were killed by two gun-wielding teens, who then took their own lives.

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