No arrests made in WC false alarm

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 25, 2008

While providing no details, Warren Central High School Principal Pam Wilbanks said this morning there will be “severe consequences” for those responsible for texting messages via cell phones Wednesday that led to many students leaving school for the day.

“We are continuing to investigate. We do have some leads, and there will be severe consequences,” Wilbanks said this morning.

Superintendent Dr. James Price said no students have been punished because school officials have not yet been able to narrow the source of the initial text message.

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“It’s kind of a ‘he said, she said’ deal right now, and we’re continuing to try to track it down,” he said. “To me this is similar to a bomb threat, although the statute doesn’t say that, but the result is the same or worse.”

Price said the school has the option of handling the problem with in-school discipline or filing criminal charges.

A barrage of text messages said there was an armed student at the campus on Mississippi 27 around 8 a.m. Wednesday. Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said the information was baseless. Regardless, parents by the dozens went or were summoned by their children to the school to sign them out as a precaution.

Wilbanks said there have been no changes to the school’s cell phone policy. Currently, students are asked not to take cell phones to school, and are punished if they are seen using phones at the school. The first time a student is caught with a phone, it is taken away and can be retrieved only by a parent, said Wilbanks. Further offenses lead to in-school detention.