Chestertown teen charged in KIHS bomb threat

Kent Island High School was evacuated Tuesday morning, Jan. 15 for a bomb threat. A Chestertown-area teen has been charged in the case, according to police.

STEVENSVILLE — A Chestertown-area teen has been referred to the Department of Juvenile Services in connection with a bomb threat last month at Kent Island High School.

The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office reported Thursday, Feb. 7, a 14-year-old Queen Anne’s County boy has been charged with disturbing school activities, threat of mass violence, threat of arson and false statement regarding destructive device in the Jan. 15 incident. The boy is not a student at the school, said Lauren Moses, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.

Principal John R. Schrecongost notified the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Unit at 6:30 a.m. Jan. 15, about a threatening message he had received via email. It had been sent at 8 p.m. Jan. 14, and he discovered it when he arrived at school the next morning, the sheriff’s office said.

Students already in the school building at 900 Love Point Road were escorted out, and those who hadn’t entered yet were kept outside — most of them on their buses, officials said. On a regular school day, KIHS students must report by 7:45 a.m., and first period starts 15 minutes later.

With temperatures below freezing, the school board opted to relocate students to the nearby Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church rather than have them wait outside in the cold.

A message from Schrecongost went out to Kent Island High families at 7:46 a.m.: “The main campus has received a threatening message this morning and is evacuating to Safe Harbor Church. All students are being evacuated at this time and we will send a message when we are returning to the building.”

“Law enforcement personnel and school staff conducted a search of the building and grounds. K-9 teams were deployed to assist with the search and scanned for explosives,” Moses said. “Law enforcement personnel also were present with the students as they were relocated, to ensure their continued safety.”

The sheriff’s office was assisted by Annapolis Police Department, Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, Maryland State Police and Natural Resources Police, Moses said.

No explosives were found. Police reported they found no threat to the students or their safety.

Schrecongost sent a second message at 9:47 a.m. saying the building was deemed safe for the students’ return. Students were bused back from the church and first period began at 10 a.m.

The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office maintained a presence at the school for the remainder of the day.

Detective Jeff Lewis led the investigation to find the author of the bomb threat email, which led to the teen being identified; the boy subsequently confessed when interviewed by investigators, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The sheriff’s office considers any and all potential threats to school and student safety a very serious matter,” Sheriff Gary Hofmann said.

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