Charges are pending against a 15-year-old New London girl who admitted to emailing a “low-level” bomb threat that evacuated school for about an hour this week.
Village police officers were able to identify the culprit with the assistance of several New London Local Schools officials. Those officials included Superintendent Carol Girton, New London High School Principal Brad Romano, elementary/middle school Principal Martin Linder, a school computer tech and some maintenance workers.
“They were very helpful with this. … They were in the building the entire time,” said police Chief Michael Marko, who noted his department has a good rapport with the school. “The superintendent was by my side the entire time.”
The threat came to the school as an email about 11:15 a.m. Monday. Police were notified at 11:22. Marko said the email had “bomb threat” in the subject line, but the content was “very, very vague.”
“We believed at the time it was a low-level threat,” the chief said. “It was considered a low-level threat.”
As Marko and Officer Ryan LaMothe responded to the school, police notified the Huron County Sheriff’s Office, state Highway Patrol and Ashland County Bomb Squad. Marko said those agencies were placed on stand-by “in case we needed someone else.” However, the two officers were the only firstresponders on the scene.
“The children were evacuated for almost an hour,” Marko said.
As authorities made their rounds, the computer tech determined “the IP address came from the school” in a classroom and “pinpointed who was on the computer,” Marko said.
Using that information, police identified the girl, whom they interviewed at the school for about 30 minutes.
“During that time, she was read her Miranda rights,” said Marko, adding the girl eventually admitted to emailing the threat. “She was not under arrest. Charges are pending in juvenile court.
“We asked her why she did it. Her response was, ‘Well, my brother did it 20 years ago and only got a 10-day suspension,’” the chief said. When school officials weren’t able to contact the girl’s mother, police transported her to the station. Marko said once police contacted the mother, they drove the girl home.
The incident was a topic of discussion at Monday’s regularly scheduled school board meeting. Parents questioned board members about why they weren’t notified until several hours after the incident and wanted to know what is the policy for similar emergencies.
Girton said once police were on the scene, they were in charge and determined the course of events.
The superintendent and board members agreed to review emergency policies.