Sentencing for a Middletown girl who admitted to texting a message with a threat that caused lockdowns at multiple Butler County schools has been continued due to the coronavirus concerns.
The 14-year-old Middletown middle school student was charged with inducing panic on March 4 and booked into the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.
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On March 11, the girl entered a “true” plea. She could be sent to the Ohio Department of Youth Services for the offense, or Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Craft could order other punishment, including time in the county juvenile rehabilitation center. Sentencing was scheduled for Monday, but it has been continued until June 1, according to Rob Clevenger, juvenile court administrator. Many hearings in all county courts have been continued due to the pandemic.
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.”
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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.
The student was identified, found with the phone that sent the text message and confessed, police and school officials said.
Officials said a phone with a number related to the phone that sent the message was “pinged” at Lakota East High School, which caused the lockdowns there.
After an assessment of the teen by forensic psychologist Bobbie Hopes that indicated she was “at low risk to harm herself or others,” Craft placed her on home incarceration.
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