School Plot or Not? Teen Arrested for Terroristic Threatening

August 22, 2006 - Posted at 6:47 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR -- "First and foremost we need to keep our students and staff safe," said Green County Tech Superintendent Sheila Ford, "We know that. We take that responsibility very seriously.  We believe that if people are not safe on our campus, then nothing else that we do matters, and so we do take any allegations of this matter very seriously."

A 15-year-old high school boy is out on a $50,000 dollar bond after being arrested for terroristic threatening. The Greene County Tech student would have started high school Monday...but instead spent the day in a mental health facility in Little Rock after being arrested by Greene County Sheriff officials on August 11.

"A couple of weeks ago, one of the students had told his parent that he had heard a rumor from another student had identified some kids that he was upset with and that he was going to something," said Ford.

The child's parent contacted the Greene County Tech High School principal who alerted local law enforcement.

"The concern was that the boy that was arrested had a yearbook and had marked some names in the yearbook of the students who he felt like had treated him badly," said Ford.

"Certainly this annual, there are no markings, there are no writings on it," said Attorney  Mark Rees, "Basically it is my understanding that just some pin pricks and when I say a pin prick, I mean like a straight needle pin."

The school has a strict policy against bullying...but administrators would not comment on whether or not the student had reported problems in the past.  His attorney says the boy was never bullied.

"He has stated to me that he has not felt any animosity toward anybody at his school for any kind of activity that went on at school," said Rees, "All this that has been going on about a school plot, my client strongly denies that and I think in my opinion it has been blown out of proportion."

"Parents trust us with their children and their most precious, precious asset and we take that responsibility seriously.  And in no way would we ever compromise the safety of a child in our care," said Ford.

The boy faces felony charges of first-degree terroristic threatening and has been charged as an adult.  Rees says he plans to file a motion to have the case transferred to juvenile court.