Middletown student faces felony charge after message caused school lockdowns

A 14-year-old Middletown Middle School student faces a felony charge of inducing panic after a text message sent Wednesday morning caused lockdowns at multiple schools throughout the area.

The student was booked into the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center on Wednesday night.

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 teen was arraigned today in juvenile court by a magistrate, and no plea was taken. She was ordered to remain in the juvenile detention center until a pre-trial hearing scheduled on Wednesday before Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Craft, according to Rob Clevenger, court administrator.

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 until about 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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.

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