News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 15, 2014

Two Honey Creek students charged in fake bomb threat

Facing class-D felony charge

TERRE HAUTE — Two Honey Creek Middle School students — an eighth-grader and a sixth-grader — were arrested Thursday on a class-D felony charge of false informing.

The two, who are brothers, told a school protection officer at the middle school they had heard there was a bomb in the building, said Clark Cottom, chief deputy sheriff of the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.

Police, after an investigation of the threat made about 7:35 a.m. Thursday, concluded it was a hoax; however, officers did a secondary search of the school as a precaution, said Danny Tanoos, superintendent of the Vigo County School Corp.

“The two students were not telling the truth. They made this up and were arrested and taken to the juvenile center,” Tanoos said. “The sheriff’s department and the school corporation will not tolerate threats on the school or anything that is a hoax that would scare our students, our staff or citizens.”

The two students were brought to the school office and were placed in separate rooms. Detective Sgt. Frank Shahadey of the sheriff’s department and Cottom talked to the students.

“Their stories varied somewhat. The more we talked to them, the more the stories varied,” Cottom said. “Because the stories were breaking down, we felt that we were dealing with a hoax. We felt at that time, the [school] building was safe.”

Cottom said that “after speaking to [the two students] for some time, they finally did admit that they had made up the bomb threat.”

“Their statement to police was that they just did not want to attend school. So, they thought that this would be a good way to get school released,” Cottom said.

Cottom said “in this day and age, making threats at a school is just not tolerated. Fortunately, we have staff, we have training and we have drills. In fact, we are getting ready to conduct a drill next week with the school corporation to prepare for these types of events.”

Tanoos, police and school staff rushed to the school building. “We did not evacuate because Shahadey, Cottom, myself and staff felt pretty quickly that it was not true,” Tanoos said. “But still, we had to do our due diligence and follow our protocols ... to ensure the school was safe.”

The superintendent said arresting the students “shows we are not in any way tolerate any threat, whether real or a hoax, on our students, staff or community. We have to treat these very seriously to send that message out to the next group who might think they are going to something like this,” Tanoos said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

 

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