By Greg Sowinski email@example.com
March 4, 2014
ELIDA — An Elida High School freshman was in custody Tuesday expected to be charged in connection with a threat made on Twitter to bomb and shoot up her school.
The girl, who is 14, was expected to be charged with inducing panic. Depending on the section of law she is charged under, the crime could be as high as a second-degree felony, officials said.
No one was injured and the girl never made it to school Tuesday, said Chief Deputy Jimmy Everett of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office.
The girl, whose name was not released, could appear at a hearing in Allen County Juvenile Court as early as 1 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.
“She’s being held at the Allen County Juvenile Detention center,” Everett said.
Sheriff investigators became aware of the plot when an out-of-state computer investigator conducting research came across the threat on Twitter. The investigator notified Allen County Sheriff officials at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Everett said.
“She made several threats on a Twitter account about harming students at Elida High School,” Everett said.
By 7 a.m. deputies were at the girl’s home, before she even had a chance to go to school. They took her into custody. Sheriff investigators have since talked to the girl and are continuing to investigate to learn more about her ability to carry out the threat, Everett said.
“Every threat like this you have to take seriously,” he said.
Investigators have not found any bombs, explosives or guns that girl would have had access to. They also have not found any information to indicate she had chosen a date to carry out the plot, Everett said.
Still, the matter is being fully investigated because of the serious nature of the threats involving a school, Everett said.
“What it looks like, the student was making threats trying to get suspended for the rest of the school year,” Everett said.
Elida Superintendent Don Diglia said the Sheriff’s Office contacted school officials immediately after receiving information on the threat. Investigators made the choice to locate the girl and take her into custody before school started for the day, Diglia said.
Diglia sent an email to staff informing them of all the information he had in case pupils asked about the incident. A short time later, he sent out a text alert to parents and anyone signed up for the alerts, telling them briefly about the incident while referring them to the Elida schools website for information to make sure the correct information was out, he said.
“Rumors started going around pretty quickly,” he said.
The district has 2,600 pupils of which 780 attend the high school, Diglia said.
Diglia expects the girl will be suspended and then expelled, he said.
“There certainly will be something coming. We need to get some additional information so we can act appropriate,” he said.
Diglia said the girl’s disciplinary record at Elida Schools is minimal and she was not on the radar as a troubled student.
“Not a lot of history as far as student discipline. Certainly nothing of a violent nature,” he said.
The school was not placed in lockdown because she was in custody before the school day started, Diglia said.
Everett said the main concern is student safety, which means such threats will carry heavy penalties.
“When something like this comes up, you throw everything at it, take it seriously and get it resolved as soon as possible,” he said.
Authorities said there does not appear to be any connection with an incident at Elida Middle School last month in which a 13-year-old boy brought knives to school to carry out a plot of killing staff and pupils. The boy was stopped in the principal’s office when he decided to tell the principal instead of stabbing him. That boy has been expelled from Elida schools. His case is pending in the juvenile justice system.
Diglia did not have a lot to say about two recent plots at Elida schools, saying it was premature to tie either one together in anyway.
“If parents have any concerns, please give me a call. We are doing everything we can to make sure their students are safe,” he said.