Shooting threat lands student out of school, in jail

Published on Thu, May 9, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Shooting threat lands student
out of school, in jail

By Meg Olson

A high school student has been expelled and jailed after threatening a school shooting.

The 17-year-old freshman wrote a message on his desk on Monday afternoon that was found by first period students the next morning. “It was a death message implying he was going to do a shooting on the 8th,” said police chief Bill Elfo.

The message in ink on a desk, “I’m going to shoot up the school on 5/8/02,” was discovered by students in Rob Bouma’s science class. “He removed them immediately to the lab and I went and talked to them,” said principal Dan Newell. “They were very disturbed by it.” Newell and police spent three hours interviewing students who had sat at the desk while classes continued as normal. “Because the message had a specific day we continued with business as usual while I did my investigation,” Newell said.

Elfo said the 17-year-old, who had been sitting at the desk the previous afternoon, confessed to writing the message but said it wasn’t a serious threat. “He told me he was just doodling on his desk,” Newell said.

However, police and school officials took the matter seriously. “He was arrested and expelled,” Newell said. The boy was booked into Whatcom county juvenile detention for making a threat against a school, Elfo said. “As far as we know he had no access to weapons and hadn’t been in trouble before but this is going to continue to be our policy on this kind of thing,” he said. “You make a threat, you go to jail.”

Newell said the school had seenno warning signs. “There were no indicators that would have brought him to our attention,” he said. This was the youth’s first year in the Blaine school system. “He was home-schooled his whole life,” Newell said. “This looked to me like an attention-getting device.”

Other students at the school said they knew who the boy was, but didn’t know anything about him. “He isn’t popular, nobody really knows him,” said one student.

Police and school officials are confident no threat exists to the school. “It was one kid acting alone, I’m fully satisfied with that,” Newell said.

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