Middletown High student arrested for racist threat

Middletown High student arrested for racist threat

Middletown City Schools and the Middletown Division of Police worked together to arrest a 15-year old male Monday on a second-degree felony, inducing panic, at Middletown High School, the city announced this morning.

A note written by the student containing information regarding a possible death threat of black students for Thursday at Middletown High School was turned into the Middletown High school resource officer, Brandon Highley, the city said.

The student was immediately arrested. He was found to have been acting alone, and there were no weapons found on the property when searched, the press release said.

All parties involved, including Middletown City Schools, acted quickly and appropriately, according to Middletown Division of Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw.

The 15-year-old appeared in court Tuesday morning, but no plea was entered, according to Rob Clevenger, administrator for the Butler County Juvenile Court. The boy’s parents said they were going to hire an attorney for him, and the teen was remanded back to the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center, Clevenger said.

He is scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. for a pre-trial hearing before Judge Ronald Craft.

While the schools and Middletown police do not see any immediate danger, police security will be increased at Middletown High School on Thursday, the city’s news release said.

Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter said the matter is now a police investigation.

In an announcement sent to school parents, Cotter wrote:

“Yesterday afternoon, a student alerted the office to the existence of a threatening, racially motivated note. The administrative team and school resource officer immediately investigated, secured the note, and removed the student responsible from school. School dismissed on time without further incident.

“Through a very thorough investigation, our administrators and school resource officer have found no reason to believe there is any continuing threat. We will have heightened security upon our return to school in order to allay any fears,” said Cotter.

Several parents of MHS students told our news partner, WCPO.com, they will not send their children to classes Thursday after word got out about a threat to kill all black students if they show up at school.

Doug Adkins, Middletown city manager, wrote on his blog Tuesday about the incident, describing the threats as “ugly.”

“There was nothing pretty about the language used and the threats made. They were ugly,” Adkins wrote on the blog he uses to communicate with city workers and residents.

“As ugly as the incident was, this is another situation where the system worked as it was supposed to. The School District was quick to action and cooperated completely. Our School Resource Officer was on scene and used his relationship with the students to quickly ascertain what was happening and he made good decisions, quickly, and productively to end the situation. A juvenile was arrested, charged with a felony, and our detectives spent much of the rest of the day working the case,” wrote Adkins.

“The first step is to assess the situation and neutralize any immediate threat. An arrest was made quickly. Second, they immediately started the investigation to ascertain if there were other people involved and whether there was an additional threat out there. After extensive investigation, the juvenile was found to be acting alone. As that phase comes to a close, the investigation turns to collecting evidence and statements to be used in the felony prosecution. At no time during the initial investigation will MPD make statements about what they are doing or why. It inhibits the ability to gather evidence and unbiased statements of what happened. It’s important to let the professionals do what they do best.

The School District sent out limited information last night about the incident. As we are now concluding our immediate investigation, we will be adding to that information later today,” said Adkins.

“I suppose there will always be haters and racists. Let’s meet them with education, understanding and love. My hope for the juvenile arrested is that the community can show this young person a better way to live life and approach relationships. It would be a true shame if this young person learned nothing from the incident. We have the opportunity and a responsibility to show our youth a better way to approach life,” he said.

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.