Middle schools in Mentor held assemblies Friday in response to the rash of gun and bomb threats in the district during the past week.
Principals and assistant principals discussed the disciplinary, legal and financial ramifications of making such threats. The assemblies were closed to members of the media, but the district posted an example of a speech given on Friday.
"We are concerned about how you, Shore’s student body, are being perceived by the community both within and outside of Mentor," Shore Middle School Principal Doug Baker said in his address. "You see, we know the caliber of students we have at Shore Middle School – from your accomplishments in athletics, clubs, and activities, to your academic growth displayed daily in our classrooms.
"We have seen you welcome students who need a friend by inviting them to sit with you at lunch or reaching down to help someone pick up books they have dropped, or visiting nursing homes to brighten the days of the elderly."
It's clear the district wants the community's attention back on those aspects of the student body. Though the principals each gave their own address, the district wanted each to have a few common elements in their speeches detailing the seriousness of gun and bomb threats:
- Students who make such threats will be punished to the furthest extent of district policies — expulsion.
- The families of those who make threats will also be impacted. The district pledges to seek recuperation for the costs from evacuations, such as busing, fuel and food.
- Discipline from the district is separate from the arm of the law. Students caught making threats are likely to face criminal charges, such as inducing panic, which is a second-degree felony.
Mentor Police continues investigating the recent incidents. Police have identified suspects in two of the four threats, and have also determined all four were unsubstantiated, according to the district.
Four threats have been reported at the three schools in the past week. Police began investigating a rumor Thursday night that a student planned on bringing a gun to Shore. Ridge Middle School students were evacuated Thursday following a bomb threat. Mentor Police, school officials and a bomb-sniffing canine from Geauga County Sheriff's Office searched the school and believed the threat to be a hoax.
On Tuesday, a student who is suspected of writing a threat on the wall at Memorial Middle School and causing a bomb scare was arrested and charged with inducing panic. On February 14, police questioned students at Ridge Middle School in an attempt to find the origin of a rumor that a student would bring a gun to school. The student suspected of making the threat is not being permitted to attend school.