Champaign County Sheriff’s Office responds to alleged threat by Graham student

By Casey S. Elliott -

ST. PARIS – A Graham Middle School eighth grader was charged this week for reportedly telling students not to attend school the next day, implying there would be violence.

The 14-year-old boy was charged with inducing panic and menacing, both misdemeanors, Sheriff Matt Melvin said.

At the end of the school day Wednesday, the student reportedly told certain students not to attend school Thursday. Students told middle school officials, who alerted sheriff’s office deputies, Melvin said.

“He never made the statement that something was going to happen or he was going to do something,” Melvin said.

Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said the comments were made on a school bus.

The school was never on lockdown and opened at its normal time on Thursday, Koennecke said.

“We had an unsubstantiated report (of the threat) on Wednesday evening,” he said. “We wouldn’t open the school if we felt it was a credible threat. The parent and the student cooperated with us from the get-go.”

There was an additional sheriff’s deputy on scene Thursday, Melvin and Koennecke said. The additional deputy helped interview students. The district also has a school resource officer on campus.

Some families kept their children out of school Thursday because of the threat, Koennecke said.

“We know that people have concerns when they hear about these threats,” Koennecke said. “This student made sarcastic, inappropriate comments that made some people uncomfortable.”

No weapons were found on the student and there was no indication the student took weapons to school.

The student was suspended, Koennecke said. The student will be arraigned on the charges in juvenile court. A date has not yet been set for that hearing.

By Casey S. Elliott

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.