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Published: Friday, 3/24/2006

2 charged in scare at local junior high

Two Washington Junior High School boys have been charged in Lucas County Juvenile Court with delinquency in connection with inducing panic for talking about a "Columbine-type" shooting at the school.

The boys are both 14 and in the eighth grade, Sgt. Tim Layson said.

The sergeant said the situation began in December after a first semester health class in which the subject of bullying and its effects was discussed. An example used was the Columbine school shooting.

A girl in the class teased a boy, who she thought was different and had a Goth appearance. In retaliation, the boy told her if he was going to do anything, she would be the first person he'd shoot, the sergeant said.

The girl told a friend in the second semester health class about the boy's comment but didn't say what caused him to make it. One of the girls told her father, who contacted the school and was told the situation was resolved. On March 3, talk of a shooting began spreading via text messages and on the Web site MySpace.com, the sergeant said.

Sergeant Layson said one of the boys who was charged called several girls and asked them if they were threatened and created an imaginary "hit list." One of the girls and her mother filed a police report.

The sergeant said there was no "hit list" or threats made, and a report of a student with a gun in school also is untrue. He said the second boy was charged because he was screaming in the hallway that the reports were true and were going to happen.

Police are investigating every accusation, talking to students, and checking MySpace.com. The school also is conducting an internal investigation.

Police and school officials participated in a video conference March 17 regarding the report and a letter was sent home. Extra police crews will be at the school as a precaution today and Monday, when the shooting reportedly was going to occur.

Sergeant Layson encourages parents to listen to who their children talk to and what they're talking about and to monitor their e-mails and visited Web sites.

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