A former Springboro High School freshman remains on house arrest following his trial Friday as a judge considers lesser charges.
Judge Joe Kirby gave lawyers until Oct. 18 to make arguments about the 15-year-old Clearcreek Twp. boy being convicted of misdemeanors, such as making false alarms or disorderly conduct, rather than the more serious inducing panic on school grounds charge he faced during the trial in Warren County Juvenile Court.
“He did something stupid, but that’s not a crime,” the boy’s lawyer, John Smith, said during closing statements.
During her final statement, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Megan Davenport urged Kirby to consider lesser charges, including making false alarms, a misdemeanor, rather than the felony inducing panic charge. Kirby suggested disorderly conduct also could be appropriate.
Davenport pointed to multiple school shootings across the country, including the April 1999 mass shooting that resulted in the death of 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado.
“At Columbine, they made threats like this,” Davenport said in her closing statement.
It is the second time the boy on trial has been charged with making a school threat.
Last October, he sent a Snapchat, showing him holding a firearm, to friend at lunch at Springboro Junior High School. A caption said, “Should I bring this to school?”
This was shared at the school lunch table.
The boy admitted to sending the messages but “stated that he meant it as a joke and would never bring a gun to school,” records show.
He was charged with making false alarms and released to his parents on house arrest. On Dec. 3, the charge was amended to attempting to make false alarms and he was ordered to do 25 hours of community service.
In the current case, on Aug. 29, the boy allegedly made another threat to friends during math class, according to Friday’s testimony.
One friend told others later in the football locker room to wear red on Friday, Aug. 30, when the boy on trial said he planned a shooting, according to testimony.
By wearing red, the students testified that they were under the impression they would not be among the shooter’s targets. Otherwise students were expected to wear Panther blue.
One of the other boys texted Dave Stuckey, a coach and school-board member, who alerted police.
The boy denied making the threat, but was charged and detained. He remained in detention until Sept. 12, when he was placed on house arrest.
Police, school officials and two students testified during Friday’s trial to the judge.
“It made me feel frightened,” said the boy who texted Stuckey. “It made me feel like I did the right thing and that I would be dealing with it for a while.”
Under cross-examination by Smith, the boy who called Stuckey acknowledged he never directly heard the threat being made.
Students and school officials said the threat prompted talk at school the next day and at least one person wearing red, as well as social networking chatter over the next few days.
Principal Kyle Martin said no security precautions were necessary, since the student who allegedly made the threat was in detention.
“It definitely had an impact,” Martin said.
The boy was expelled and ordered to attend school at the juvenile detention center. He is barred from school grounds.
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