8-year-old arrested in school bomb threat

Arrest comes on the same day that Kettering schools sees its fourth bomb threat in less than a week.

Kettering Police arrested an 8-year-old Oakview Elementary student Monday in connection with the two bomb threats written in crayon on school bathroom walls last week.

Any formal charges will be determined by the Montgomery County Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office, but police said the arrest was for inducing panic.

“Someone has to be accountable for that, and threats are not taken lightly,” Kettering police officer Ron Roberts said. “A lot of effort with equipment and police and school administration went into (those incidents). You’ve got parents who are upset and want answers.”

Roberts said he hopes the arrest will deter other students from thinking the threats are a joke. The school district had two bomb threats in May at Van Buren Middle School and Fairmont High School, followed by three last week — the two at Oakview, and another at Van Buren. In several cases, students were sent home for the day.

Police said a Van Buren student confessed to Friday’s bomb threat at that school, and felony charges were possible in that case.

But despite that arrest, Van Buren officials found themselves dealing with another bathroom bomb threat Monday morning. Again, no explosives were found in the school.

Van Buren Principal Jeff Blakley told parents via a recorded call that the threat was found in a bathroom, and school officials evacuated the building in fire-drill fashion.

Blakley said the school worked with Kettering police on evaluating the threat. Roberts said students were sent back into the Van Buren building after police eliminated the possibility that there was a real bomb, and the building was deemed safe. Blakley said the timing of the threat made it clear that it came from a student.

In his call, Blakley asked parents to talk to their children about the severity of making a false bomb threat, saying it can be prosecuted as a second-degree felony. Van Buren parent Cindy Worley said she agreed with Blakley’s sentiment, but was frustrated because she and several other parents didn’t receive the automated call about the threat, possibly because of a technical glitch, leaving them to find out about the issue from friends on Facebook.

Kettering schools spokeswoman Kari Basson said the threats will be discussed this week when the district’s school principals gather for their regularly scheduled meetings. She said principals likely will talk to students in each school about the problem.

“We’re not going to hold back and neither will the police, in handling this,” Basson said. “We’ll work with police to make sure there are stiff consequences, because this is wreaking havoc on our schools.”