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Teen pleads guilty to threatening principal

August 25, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A 15-year-old boy who spit at, cursed and threatened to kill a high school principal last April couldn't give Judge John H. McDowell a reason for his outburst when he appeared in Washington County Juvenile Court Wednesday.

"Why were you so out of control?" McDowell asked the teenager.

He answered that he didn't know. "But I want to apologize to Mr. Reeder and Miss White."

North Hagerstown High School Principal Dave Reeder and special education teacher Pamela White were the objects of the teenager's fury on April 7.

After pleading guilty to threatening a school employee, the youth was allowed to return home Wednesday with his mother. He been at the Noyes juvenile detention center in Rockville, Md., for nearly two months.

Sentencing will be scheduled after he undergoes psychiatric and drug and alcohol evaluations while on community detention.

The April 7 incident began when the youth acted up in White's class, threatened a student and then refused to go to the principal's office as directed.

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When Reeder came into the classroom, the youth began spitting and cursing.

"When I come back, you're dead," the boy was heard to say to Reeder, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Gina Cirincion.

Reeder said it is rare that school officials press criminal charges but this case was an exception.

"We are very sensitive to threats these days," Reeder said, referring to national events involving school violence. "But we've expelled students for less. ... It can't be tolerated."

The youth was already in a class for disruptive students but this incident was "above and beyond that," Reeder said.

After the incident, the teen was enrolled at Cedar Ridge school, where he had five absences and many bus referrals for behavior, school officials said.

When he failed to appear for an earlier hearing on the North High incident, the teenager was picked up and sent away to Noyes.

"You've been away from home almost two months. ... How do you feel about that?" McDowell asked the boy.

He replied that he didn't like it and asked to return home with his mother pending sentencing.

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