Lawrence teen charged with felony for alleged bomb threat at West Middle School

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

A Haz-Mat vehicle from the Olathe Fire Department is pictured at Lawrence's West Middle School Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, after the school was the apparent target of a bomb threat.

Updated at 3:28 p.m. Friday, March 24, 2023

A Lawrence teen has been charged with a felony in Douglas County District Court for allegedly writing a bomb threat on a computer tablet, which led to the evacuation of West Middle School earlier this year.

After the alleged threat, students and staff at the school, 2700 Harvard Road, were forced to leave the premises on Jan. 26. They first walked to nearby Sunset Hill Elementary School, 901 Schwarz Road, before they were bused about 3 miles to Free State High School, 4700 Overland Drive, the Journal-World previously reported. The threat was determined not to be credible, according to a release from the school district the day of the incident, but a hazmat unit from a neighboring county, including a bomb-sniffing dog, had been called to investigate alongside Lawrence police.

The teen has been charged with one felony count of criminal threat by communicating a threat to commit violence with the intent to cause an evacuation, lockdown or disruption in the regular, ongoing activities of a building, according to charging documents. The charge is a low-level felony and was filed on Feb. 23. The documents do not specify the teen’s age but indicate that he is 14 or 15 years old.

The threat was allegedly written on an iPad, and a student who saw it reported it to West Middle School staff. The student accused of the threat was detained by Lawrence police that day. The police and the school district have not released any specifics about the threat other than the note “could be considered a bomb threat.”

The teen’s first court appearance is scheduled for April 5. Court records indicate that the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has attempted to issue a summons for the juvenile and his legal guardian, but the service process had not been successful as of Wednesday.

According to Lawrence school district spokesperson Julie Boyle, the student is currently enrolled at West Middle School and has been since October 2021.


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