Pupil, 13, charged with making threats

Police say Carroll teen kept list of tormentors

March 21, 2001|By Jamie Manfuso and Jennifer McMenamin | Jamie Manfuso and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

A 13-year-old Westminster middle school pupil has been charged with verbally threatening pupils he claimed were picking on him, Westminster police said yesterday.

Police said the East Middle School pupil was keeping a list of pupils who had tormented him. Police learned Friday that the boy made a verbal threat related to the list, police said.

"There was no indication that he ever brought any kind of weapon to school," said Capt. Randy Barnes, a police spokesman. "For that matter, there was no threat to use a weapon."

Although police were aware of the list last week, charges were not pressed until they learned about the verbal threat, police said.

School officials had alerted police about the boy and his list that week.

The incident marks the third time in the past two weeks that a Carroll County student has been charged or suspended for threatening students while on school grounds.

The East Middle School pupil's case has been referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Barnes declined to divulge further details.

"It's been confirmed that he was being picked on by other students," Barnes said. "If that is occurring, that needs to stop."

East Middle School pupils have met to discuss the incident and talk about sensitivity toward others, said Principal Bronson E. Jones.

Eighth-graders have met in small groups to discuss the issue in-depth, he said.

Cynthia Little, Carroll's director of pupil services, noted that school systems around the country have experienced a spate of arrests and reported threats since the school shooting March 5 in Santee, Calif., in which a 15-year-old is accused of killing two students and injuring 13 others.

"It's natural that we have a flurry like this after an event is well publicized in the press," she said, referring to last week's arrest of a South Carroll High School senior who is accused of threatening four or five classmates and compiling a "hit list" of students.

"But what we don't really know is if there's a flurry of more threats or whether kids in Carroll County are simply telling us more about them," Little said.

Noting student privacy regulations, Little said she is unable to discuss whether the East Middle pupil was suspended.

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