Student, 12, charged with terroristic threats

The New Garden Township Police Department announced charges on Thursday, Oct. 30, against a 12-year-old student for two separate bomb-related threats at Kennett Middle School — a day after officers responded to the unrelated discovery of a live round of ammunition at the same school.

Police said on 11 occasions during the past year, officers have responded to Kennett Middle School, located at 195 Sunnydell Road in Landenberg, for bomb-related threats. On each occasion, the police department has worked closely with administrators to conduct a search, often aided by K-9 units, a department press release said.

The 12-year-old, whose name was not released, has been charged in juvenile court with terroristic threats, threats to use weapons of mass destruction, and institutional vandalism. The student was released to parents and is not authorized to be on the grounds of Kennett Middle School, the release said.

New Garden Township Police Chief Gerald R. Simpson said no evidence suggests that the student was involved in any of the other incidents, which all began with a nonspecific threat: an alarming word or phrase with no exact details.

Recently, at the request of school administrators, the New Garden Township Police facilitated a meeting between school officials and the FBI. These efforts will result in a multi-faceted approach, aimed at keeping the children and faculty safe and minimizing disruption to the academic environment. The protocols will be released in the near future by the Kennett Consolidated School District when completed, the release said.

In the unrelated discovery of ammunition at the middle school, New Garden Township Police responded to the school about 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, for a report of a live rifle round, which was found on the floor of a sixth-grade classroom, the release said.

After activating a “soft” lockdown to minimize pedestrian traffic within the building, investigators determined that the object, which was found by a cleaning crew the previous evening, was likely dropped accidentally by someone who had been in the room. For investigative reasons, police said the caliber would not be disclosed.

Police said interviews conducted with the assigned teacher as well as the children who sat near where the object was located, revealed no suspicious activity. A search of the school was conducted with the aid of a K-9 team just as a precaution.

Calling the Oct. 29 incident “an unfortunate disruption,” Simpson applauded “the efficient and calm manner taken by school officials to ensure everyone‘s safety.”

Earlier this month, a bomb threat prompted Kennett Township Police to evacuate Greenwood Elementary School. After a sweep of the interior and grounds of the school turned up no explosives, police deemed the threat unfounded; however, that incident remains under investigation.




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