Decatur High School received two more bomb threats Monday, and the second one led to the arrest of three female students.
Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old were arrested and will be charged with terroristic threat, a third-degree felony offense. Because the suspects are juveniles, their names were not released.
Hoskins said one girl brought a note with a bomb threat to school officials Monday afternoon, claiming she had found the note in a bathroom.
“One of the people arrested was bringing the note to the office,” Hoskins said. “She said she found it in the bathroom, but the school reviewed video and determined that wasn’t true. The school investigated and found two other girls that were involved. They found another note and text messages.”
The three girls were detained and placed in a juvenile detention center where they stayed overnight. The three were scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday to determine whether they would be released to their parents or remain in the juvenile detention center.
Earlier in the day Monday, a bomb threat was found in a boys’ restroom, resulting in an evacuation of the building. It was the second such threat in less than a week.
“The threat was written on the stall door in the men’s rest-room on the first floor,” Superintendent Rod Townsend said. “There were no specifics. It did refer to last week’s threat.”
Townsend said that although school protocol didn’t call for an evacuation in this case, administrators decided to clear the building and bring in the Decatur fire and police departments to do a sweep of the facility, following the same procedures as last week’s bomb threat evacuation and search on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Monday’s evacuation took place just after 9:30 a.m.
Due to the cold temperatures, students did not stay outside very long before being moved into the ag building, fieldhouse and the nearby Carson Elementary gym.
“From the evacuation time to the time when students were inside another building was 15 minutes, tops,” Townsend said.
Temperatures at that hour were around 30 degrees.
Once the all-clear was given, students returned to class just after 10:30.
Hoskins said the three girls arrested may not be responsible for that morning’s bomb threat or the one from last Tuesday, since those notes were both found in a boys bathroom.
“I think there will be more kids involved,” Hoskins said. “These three could eventually be connected with the boys.”
He added that he expects more arrests in the case.
Townsend said he feels that the person or people responsible for Monday morning’s threat are the same ones responsible for last Tuesday’s threat. He said the school has interviewed students and has identified suspects.
“There is a group of about four to six boys who are being watched extremely close,” he said.
As for those responsible, Townsend said the school has a message for them.
“We are going to start emphasizing to students that eventually we will prove it, and it will be something that will affect their lives from now on,” he said.
The student or students responsible should not expect just a slap on the wrist, he said.
“I’ll push them to the end,” Townsend said. “This is completely unacceptable.”
The school has increased its reward to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.