BOY ADMITS BOMB THREAT
September 15, 2000 11:00 pm

A 15-year-old freshman has been accused by Brookings police of phoning a bomb threat to the high school Wednesday.

The boy, who was not identified by police, was referred to juvenile authorities by Detective John Bishop.

He faces charges of harassment, disorderly conduct, menacing and coercion. The investigation is continuing, but no additional arrests are expected, the detective said.

Before the boys arrest Wednesday night, Dr. Paul Prevenas, district superintendent, said the police had a substantial lead. He did not elaborate.

Detective Bishop said they learned the accuseds identity almost immediately after two witnesses stepped forward. He said they either heard the boy make the threatening call, or he told them about it.

The witnesses were motivated by a $1,000 reward posted by the school district, the detective said.

A representative of the telephone company assisted. However, Bishop said, the new digital phone systems make it almost impossible to trace a call. Few entities install detection system because of the expense, he said.

The call that delayed the opening of the districts schools was received by a high school clerk at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The threat to bomb the schools caused the schools to be evacuated. The students were sent to athletic fields or a church to wait until the schools had been searched.

Chief Ken Lewis of the Brookings Police Department was in charge of the searches of the schools. All of the schools were searched twice, Dr. Prevenas said.

The state police, sheriffs office and regular and reserve city police officers and district personnel searched the schools and the parking lots, Dr. Prevenas said.

The all clear was given to the schools at 10:15 a.m. By then, some of the students had been taken out of school by their parents.

The superintendent praised the police, especially Chief Lewis, for their quick response. He said he was especially appreciative because of the limited law enforcement resources.

Detective Bishop said the boy admitted making the bomb threat. He said he did not realize all of the problems that it would cause. He thought it was a prank, and expressed regret for his actions.

The detective said the boys parents were deeply concerned. The boy was placed under house arrest.

There was an indication the threat was made to avoid having to take a test, Bishop said.

School authorities were not sure if the threat was directed at just the high school or all of the schools. They took the most cautious approach and delayed the opening of all of the schools, including Upper Chetco.

Dr. Prevenas praised the teachers and the students for their cooperation during the emergency.

This was the third bomb scare since January. The other two were never solved. One involved a man giving the threat to student, and another was in a note left at the district office and in The Pilot parking lot. The latest threat was not connected to the other two, Bishop said.

The superintendent said the first goal of the district was to restore safe conditions and return students to classes, and the second was apprehension of the person responsible for making the call.

The boy could face school district disciplinary action.