2015-12-16 / Front Page

‘Doodling’ student nabbed in threat

BY ERIC LEVINE 810-452-2689 • elevine@mihomepaper.com

Chief Brian McGinnis Chief Brian McGinnis MARLETTE — A 14-year-old student could face charges for last week’s bomb threat at the high school.

Chief of Police Brian McGinnis says the teenaged boy admitted to leaving the message after police and school authorities narrowed the list of possible suspects from four to one, based on hallway security video outside the boys’ bathroom where the message was left.

The threat, written on a roll of toilet paper in a bathroom stall, was found and turned over to the high school office at 10:30 a.m. on Tues., Dec. 8.

Police were called in, and the building was evacuated in about 30 minutes, said McGinnis.

The evacuation was not immediate, because authorities needed to check the area outside the building, including the parking lot, for any potential danger to students and staff.

“We can’t immediately do an evacuation that could send people into harm’s way,” said the chief.

School buses that had transported students to school a couple hours earlier, had to be called back. Even though drivers are part-time, “their response time was phenomenal,” said the chief.

“The evacuation did go smoothly with a spectacular effort from all school district employees,” said high school Principal Kyle Wood. “Students exited the building calmly and got home safely.”

Bomb-sniffing dogs from the Sanilac County Sheriff Department and the Lapeer Police Department checked the building for explosives after everyone was out.

No bomb was found.

“It was literally written on a toilet paper roll,” said McGinnis.

While the chief wouldn’t disclose the wording of the message, he said, “it implied there would be a bomb at the school.”

The police report will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office to determine possible charges.

When questioned by authorities, the youth did not appear to have any “malice” or anger toward the school, said the chief.

The boy indicated, “He was just doodling and not thinking of the consequences,” said McGinnis.

School officials would not comment on possible disciplinary action.

The decision to close the high school but leave the elementary school open was made by school administrators, said McGinnis, but added, “the information we had was building-specific.”

The high school reopened the following day, when there was a police presence at both the high school and elementary school.

McGinnis credited a joint investigation by his department and the high school principal in identifying the suspect.

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