The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 24, 2000


Carlisle youth to be summonsed for bomb threat

A Carlisle Middle School student will be summonsed to court for threatening to bomb the school on March 17. His written threat was discovered in the boys' bathroom at the Carlisle Middle School on March 13. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson said the responsible boy has been suspended indefinitely. There is no indication that anyone else was involved in making the threat.

The identification of the responsible youth was the culmination of four days of intense and active investigation by both school and police personnel, with assistance from the state police. Officials' immediate concern was the security of the school and, to achieve this, they went to extraordinary lengths. The school sent a letter home with students on Tuesday, March 14, and held an assembly the same day for all students in grades five through eight. The state police were contacted and advised that the people who knew the school best, the administrative team, should conduct a search of the building. This was done each day between five and eight in the morning, before the students arrived. Every locker and every desk was inspected. When the children came into the building, every backpack was inspected and two metal detectors were used in screening. The police assisted in a sweep of the building before school on March 16 and 17 before children were allowed to enter the building. School doors were locked to control access to the building.

On another front, the investigation team, headed by Lieutenant John Sullivan and Officer Steven Mack, tried to identify the handwriting in the bomb threat and find out if any particular students were known to use a pentagram in their drawings, since that symbol was included in the writing on the bathroom wall. Handwriting samples were collected and taken to a handwriting expert who confirmed the identity of the responsible youth from a study of the bathroom handwriting and the student's writing sample. Police were then able to close their investigation.

Police and school team up

Carlisle Police Chief David Galvin said there was "a lot of cooperation" from the school on the investigation, and that the youth's parents had also been cooperative. Fox-Melanson stated that the police had been involved from the outset and added, "I'm very grateful to them. They were very professional."

It will be about six weeks before the court's disposition of the case is known, according to Galvin. As a juvenile, the youth will have a closed hearing before a judge who has wide discretion in the disposition of the case. The worst case scenario is that the youth would be remanded into state custody, but Galvin said he could also be put on probation with supervision. In addition, Fox-Melanson said that the youth, now suspended, will be offered a hearing and that the school reserves the right to further action.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito