A 15-year-old Lebanon High School girl was released to her grandmother today after spending 21 days in the Warren County detention center for threatening a teacher in the days following the deadly school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Judge Joe Kirby decided to end the girl’s detention after she passed a polygraph test. He placed her on house arrest and prohibited her from returning to the high school or coming in contact with the teacher or her family after she admitted to aggravated menacing.
The girl, her grandmother and her lawyer explained she was the victim of a crime living with her grandmother and two siblings, all suffering the effects of their mother’s past heroin use, while the mother served a prison term on drug and robbery charges.
It was the fifth case involving a student accused of making a threat in the days after the latest deadly school shooting.
“You do realize it wasn’t a week before that a kid shot up a school and 17 people were killed,” Kirby said, noting reports that 600 copycat cases have followed the Feb. 14 case in Florida, the latest in a series of school shootings across the nation.
The girl admitted to twice threatening to kill and stab a teacher at the high school on Feb. 20, but promised not to carry knives or come in contact with the teacher or her family, except to offer a letter of apology through the court’s victim advocate.
“I didn’t mean any harm by it. It was just a pop-off,” she said.
Kirby also ordered her to complete 25 hours of community service with a non-profit organization and prohibited her from smoking marijuana, which she tested positive for when she was detained.
“You understand this teacher is scared to death of you?” Kirby asked, before ordering her to continue mental health treatment and attend anger management counseling.
The girl has been held since Feb. 20 on an aggravated menacing charge, according to court records indicating detention was chosen over releasing to her parents because of a “zero-tolerance policy” at the school.
Kirby has freed five schoolchildren detained after making threats after the latest shooting, once they passed a polygraph.
The girl’s grandmother appealed to the judge for help in getting medication for the girl or her siblings or anger management counseling.
“I’ve been dealing with this for the last year and a half,” she said, adding it would be several months before she could get the girl an appointment for more medication at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, where she had been referred for help.
Kirby said such problems were not unusual in cases he handles in the juvenile court in Lebanon.