By Kathy Jefcoats
A 14-year-old Henry High School student has been charged in connection with two bomb threats made on a cell phone from her desk in class.
The teen, who was not identified by McDonough police Chief Preston Dorsey, is being held in a youth detention center pending a Henry Juvenile Court disposition. Dorsey said the girl is charged with transmitting a false public alarm and terroristic threats and acts, both felonies under Georgia law.
Detective Barry Yarian's investigation shows that a bomb threat directed at Henry County High School was called into the Henry 911 Center just before 9 a.m. Monday. McDonough police and fire personnel responded and searched the school but did not evacuate classes, said Dorsey. No bomb was found and officers left.
"A short time later, a second bomb threat was called into the 911 Center again and again no bomb was located," he said.
Yarian was able to determine the calls were being made from a cell phone that had been turned off and was capable only of making 911 calls. The phone number was traced to a Butts County woman.
Dorsey said the woman denied having a phone but said she had grandchildren attending Henry High School. Yarian was able to determine that the calls were being made from inside the school and identified the student.
"She was sitting in class, using the phone to make the threats," said Dorsey. "She still had the phone when they arrested her."
Dorsey said she must have wanted to get out of class.
"When we showed up after the first call but didn't evacuate, she called again," he said. "I guess she wanted to get out of class."
Once the charges are disposed of in Juvenile Court, Dorsey said the girl faces administrative proceedings at the school. Henry Board of Education spokeswoman Cindy Foster said it is against system policy to use or show a cell phone during the school day without permission a revision to the code that is about a month old. The girl likely faces two to five days in-school suspension, according to policy, depending on whether this is her first, second or third violation.
"I don't know if this is her first violation," said Foster. "I would guess that she will be spending some days in in-school suspension when she returns."
A fourth violation results in out of school suspension for two days.
Foster said a phone that is turned off and carried in a backpack would not be a violation.