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Officials ponder punishment for threats



Published: Wed, June 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



No criminal charges have been filed against the student.

By VIRGINIA ROSS

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

BESSEMER, Pa. -- The Mohawk Area School District has scheduled a June 15 hearing to consider what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken against the student accused of writing a threat in a girls restroom at the high school last month, school officials said.

Schools Superintendent Timothy McNamee said he could not comment on how the district has disciplined the student so far because releasing that information is against school policy and the student is a juvenile.

He added the student's fate likely will be decided next week, after the disciplinary committee, which is made up of several school board members, conducts its hearing. The hearing is to be closed to the public.

McNamee confirmed that school officials reported the student's name to Pennsylvania State Police in New Castle late last week.

On Friday, police said they planned to file charges against the student, but could not specify the nature of those charges. As of Tuesday, charges had not been filed.

"There's not much I can say right now because this involves a student," McNamee said Tuesday. "I'd rather not elaborate."

McNamee said the disciplinary committee will make its recommendation to the school board on what course of disciplinary action, if any, should be taken against the student. The board likely will consider the issue at its meeting in July, he added.

Parents react

Meanwhile, rumors about the episode have continued circulating throughout the school district, with many parents criticizing how school officials handled the matter.

Some parents have said they are upset they had to hear about the threat from their children, other parents and through various press reports, rather than from school officials, who initially said they did not have enough time to notify parents.

Some parents said they were confused as to the nature of the threat, with some of them hearing it had been a bomb threat.

School officials have confirmed finding a threat, indicating someone was to die on June 2, in a girls restroom late in the day on May 27. But police said by the time they arrived at the school on that Friday, the threat, written on a girls restroom stall, had been scrubbed clean and police said they never saw it. Police said the principal indicated he only called police because the district superintendent had instructed him to.

Additional confusion and speculation has erupted since Monday, when a student was expelled for the remainder of the school year and the first semester of next year. McNamee said although he could not provide details related to Monday's expulsion, he said it had nothing to do with last month's threat or the student accused of making the threat.




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