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School quiet on ?Columbine' threat

By Michael Davis

Administrators at Lovejoy High School said Monday that they did not want to create "hysteria" over the arrest of a student who told classmates he wanted to make the school "into another Columbine."

Principal Mike Duncan said he did not inform parents of the student's arrest because he did not want to alarm them.

"We routinely have a variety of disciplinary actions that occur and not all of those are to be conveyed" to the public, Duncan said.

"The situation was handled in a matter of minutes and it was over," he said.

On Sept. 18, a 14-year-old student was arrested at the school after several students complained to police that the boy was planning to kill the principal and several students in a Columbine-style massacre.

The students told police that the boy was trying to get other students to help him in a plot to pull a fire alarm, block the exits and shoot students as they came out of classrooms.

Witnesses told police that the boy wrote notes to them in class and asked if they would participate in the slaughter. They said he had a map of the school and its exits though it was unclear how he planned to block them.

One student told police that the boy asked him to position himself on the roof to shoot anyone trying to enter the building to help.

Police searched the home of the boy's parents and found a note in his school bag referring to suicide. The boy's father told police that he kept one gun in the house and that the boy knew where it was kept.

Some students told police that the boy said he did not plan to target certain people, but kill randomly. Others told police he had mentioned getting revenge on students that "jumped" him last year.

The boy was charged with making terroristic threats, conspiracy to commit murder and disrupting school and taken to a youth detention center. Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said a judge postponed the boy's probable cause hearing pending a psychological evaluation.

He said the boy remains in the custody of juvenile authorities.

Clayton County Public Schools interim superintendent William Chavis did not return repeated phone calls Monday. Because the student is a juvenile, it is the policy of the school not to release information about the incident, Duncan said.

In the spring of 1999, two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado killed 15 people before killing themselves in the nation's bloodiest school shooting.