Middletown teen sentenced for threat that locked down multiple schools

A teen who admitted to texting a threat that caused lockdowns in multiple Butler County schools was sentenced to probation Monday in Butler County Juvenile Court.

The Middletown middle school student, who was 14 at the time of the March incident, pleaded “true” to a fifth-degree felony charge of inducing panic. The girl was held in the county juvenile detention center for a week after the March 4 incident but released on house arrest when she entered the plea on March 11.

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According to the criminal complaint, the student sent the message while on the bus on the way to school. The message said she had a gun in her backpack and “she was wanting to know what to do,” asking another person, according to the complaint. She asked if the other person “was ready,” according to the complaint. It is not clear with whom she believed she was communicating.

The student also indicated in the message she “wasn’t sure if she wanted to shoot up the school.”

The text message led to the lockdowns of all Middletown schools, Lakota East High School and the Lakota East Freshman campus. Those lockdowns lasted more than three hours.

The message was received by the wellness center on the Middletown High School campus, which sends messages confirming appointments. The text message received was a response to that appointment reminder, officials said.

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The student was identified, found with the phone that sent the text message and confessed, police and school officials said.

Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Craft sentenced the teen to suspended sentences at the Ohio Department of Youth Services and the county detention center. The judge ordered she be placed on indefinite intensive probation and to undergo a treatment program. The girl was also ordered to complete 20 hours of community service and write apology letters to the schools, according to Rob Clevenger, court administrator.

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