Frenchtown Middle School Student Suspended Over Bomb Threat – Cited in Youth Court [AUDIO]
The Frenchtown Middle and High School complex was evacuated on March 20 after two bomb threats were discovered in a school bathroom. A student has been cited for the incident, and has been suspended from classes, in addition to facing criminal charges in youth court.
Missoula Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone said on Tuesday, March 25, that the school's own investigation turned up the male suspect.
"They have security cameras in the school, and they identified a student coming out of the bathroom, because it had happened a second time," Pavalone said. "One warning was written on a mirror and the other in a bathroom stall. They identified the student and issued their own sanctions against him. We dispatched two deputies to the school and he was subsequently issued two citations, one for criminal mischief and another for disorderly conduct. He will be cited into youth court in Missoula."
Missoula Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone
Frenchtown Schools Superintendent Randy Kline described the procedure under which a student can be disciplined, suspended or even expelled.
"Each building has a school discipline handbook," Kline said. "The handbook talks about various offenses and what might happen to students if they commit these offenses. A bomb threat such as the one that happened last week would be considered the highest possible threat, and would entail a high level of disciplinary action."
Kline said the parents must first be contacted and brought into the situation.
"We call the parents once we've determined the extent of the student's involvement," Kline said. "If we feel that a criminal act has taken place, then we contact the Missoula County Sheriff's Office and they can choose to pursue criminal actions against the student. We then suspend the student, sometimes for a couple of days, or in the case of expulsion, that goes before the board. They give the student a hearing to determine if expulsion is justified or not."
Kline said the student in question has already been suspended.
"He has been suspended, the parents have been notified and the Missoula County Sheriff's Office has been brought in," Kline said. "The incident caused a great deal of problems, since many parents raced in from Missoula to pick up their kids. Missoula County did a great job in handling the traffic at the elementary school where all the students were moved. I realized as I was watching many of the students texting their parents that I needed to issue a press release. That's the influence of social media, things just move so fast, and if we don't get accurate information out, only panic can result."
Kline said parents need to clearly communicate the consequences of such behavior with their children.
"I'd just like parents to speak to their children about what they might see as just a hoax, they don't understand what all the consequences are going to be," Kline said."
The school was evacuated on March 20, and sheriff's deputies, along with a bomb-sniffing dog determined there was no threat. School resumed the next day.