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Student Charged with Allegedly Inducing Panic in Bomb Threat

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A 14-year-old male has been charged with two counts of inducing panic for writing a threatening message in a boy’s restroom at the Logan-Hocking Middle School approximately two weeks ago. The message was written on the wall of a bathroom stall, and stated, “A highly explosive bomb will go off today 4.27.15.”

The two counts of inducing panic are both felonies of the second degree in accordance to the Ohio Revised Code section 2917.31, which states that, “No person shall cause the evacuation of any public place, or otherwise cause serious public inconvenience or alarm by doing any of the following; Initiating or circulating a report or warning of an alleged or impending fire, explosion, crime, or other catastrophe, knowing that such a report or warning is false; threatening to commit any offense of violence; or committing any offense, with reckless disregard of the likelihood that its commission will cause serious public inconvenience or alarm.”

Unless the charge meets certain criteria, such as actually resulting in an injury or costing above a certain amount, inducing panic is generally a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, because the threat involved a school or institution of higher learning, the ORC classifies it as a second-degree felony.

The faculty at the school took the threat very seriously, and in accordance to the “Safe School Drill” students were removed from the building and bussed to Logan High School so that first responders could clear the scene. Though the threat was found in the middle school, officials were not willing to take a chance with the elementary students so near, and Green Elementary was evacuated as well.

The Logan Police Department responded to the report immediately, as did the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, the Hocking County Sheriff’s Interdiction Unit, Hocking County EMS, the Logan Fire Department, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Four detection dogs were brought in, two from the Ohio University Police Department and one from the Columbus Fire Department, and one from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

No explosive devices were located, and students returned to class on Tuesday, as did investigators as the school searched for the author of the threat.

Police identified the student by reviewing the footage from the security cameras and identifying the males who entered the restroom that Monday morning prior to the incident. By following the movements of the suspected student via the security video, speaking to teachers and comparing handwriting, the investigating officer was able to correctly identify the student who wrote the message.

The student later confessed, and has been placed on a 10-day suspension with an expulsion hearing expected to follow.