Saturday, February 15, 2003

Boy charged in bomb scare

Wall scrawl leads police to search Batavia Middle

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - A fifth-grader at Batavia Middle School has been arrested and charged with felony inducing panic for allegedly threatening to blow up his school, officials said Friday.

The 12-year-old, who is not being identified because of his age, appeared for a detention hearing Friday in Clermont County Juvenile Court.

He will be held in juvenile detention pending a pretrial hearing next week, said Clermont County Juvenile Court Director Doug Brothers.

Custodians discovered the bomb threat scrawled on a bathroom wall about 6 p.m. Wednesday, said Paul Varney, superintendent of the Batavia Local School District.

Several sports teams practicing inside the school had to be evacuated, officials said.

Clermont County sheriff's deputies investigated, while a bomb-sniffing dog from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department searched the building. Nothing dangerous was found, said Clermont County Sheriff A.J. "Tim" Rodenberg, Jr.

Officials at the school have recommended that the boy be expelled, but a hearing on the boy's status will not take place until he is released from detention, Varney said.

The boy was arrested at school Thursday after he was questioned, Varney added. School was not disrupted Thursday and parents of students were made aware of what happened in a letter sent home with their children, officials said.

If found guilty, the boy could be held in the Department of Youth Services for as little as six months or until he turns 21.

Officials are hoping this incident will educate children about the dangers of irresponsible behavior that they might consider a prank.

"We've taken a pretty aggressive stand with these types of cases," Brothers said, adding that children sometimes don't understand the repercussions of their actions.

"Nobody will simply write this off as children being children. Not anymore. Parents have to help their kids understand that," Brothers said.


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