Wednesday, December 08, 1999

Teens charged in bomb threat

Glen Este girls face expulsion

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — Two Glen Este High School students were charged Monday with inducing panic in a Dec. 1 bomb threat phoned to the school.

        The two 15-year-old girls had hoped to miss a day of classes, Union Township Police Lt. Terry Zinser said. They now face felony charges.

        The girls, who were not identified because they are under 18, were tracked down through an investigation involving police, staff at the high school and Cincinnati Bell Telephone.

        The students were suspended for 10 days and recommended for expulsion, said high school Principal Mark Peters.

        “This is not a minor disruption; this is a very serious deal,” he said. “The people I've talked to and the people who have called me — they have had it, and they expect us to take a very strong stand.”

        The Dec. 1 threat was the second bomb scare for the high school in less than a month and one of several recent threats to schools in the Tristate. Last week, a former student at Live Oaks Career Development Campus in Milford confessed to phoning a bomb threat to the school on Nov. 30. A threat made Nov. 18 remains under investigation.

        A bomb threat made to Glen Este High the day before prompted the evacuation of 2,400 students from that school and the adjacent junior high.

        Police are still investigating, Lt. Zinser said. They also want to interview additional witnesses in relation to the Dec. 1 incident.

        That threat, made by phone in the late afternoon and threatening the next day of classes, was left in a voice mail system at the school's guidance office. A special bomb-sniffing dog had to be called in from an hour north of Columbus, keeping people at the scene for several hours.

        If convicted, the two girls could face a minimum of six months in a juvenile detention facility, said Doug Brothers of Clermont County Juvenile Court.

        West Clermont school officials say they intend to prosecute to the fullest extent.

        “It is too bad that one or two thoughtless, malicious individuals can turn the lives of so many students in our school community upside down,” said assistant superintendent Mary Ellen Steele-Pierce. “We cannot tolerate this.”

        The high school has installed new technology in its phone system to identify the source of any future threats, Mr. Peters said.

        “We now have the capability of recording and tracing just about every call made to the building,” he said. “We want to get the message out that ... we're going to do everything in our power to track (bomb threats) down, and when we do, we'll do everything in our power to prosecute.”


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