The School Teacher Who Couldn’t Cope

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' blog post #125As you read this, it’s likely your children, grandchild, nieces, or nephews may be back in school. It’s hard to keep up with the varying school start/stop dates across the US.

My grandchildren are back in school. And I’m back on the lookout for anyone suspicious who’s lurking near, working at, or attending schools, hopefully, you are too.

BLOG POST #117: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a high school teacher.

Monday Morning Dread

It was Monday morning when a local 911 call center received a call from someone who said there would be a shooting and explosion at three area schools. Law enforcement was dispatched to the schools. All three were evacuated and searched finding nothing suspicious.

The 911 call center attempted a call back to the number from where the original call was made, but nobody answered the phone.

You Can’t Outsmart Law Enforcement

The exigent circumstances allowed law enforcement to request AT&T to do a trace on the number. The phone had been turned off, so no information was available.

Investigators searched businesses in the area that had received a call from the number and traced the phone use to a school teacher who worked for the district receiving the threat.

Later, the teacher confessed to making the call on his way to work and tossed the phone in a trash receptacle. You probably thought only children make fake threat calls.

Serious Repercussions

He pleaded guilty to one charge of communicating information about a false bomb threat on school property. And he relinquished his teaching credential.

Court documents showed the teacher used illegal drugs and suffered from emotional issues such as depression. He was sleep deprived, having marital issues and difficulty with his newborn child.

Before sentencing, the state district judge said, “bizarre and probably out of character. I don’t find you’re a violent person by nature.”

The judge ordered him to serve 65 months in prison with all but 20 months suspended. And he was likely eligible for parole after four months.

The judge also sentenced the former school teacher to three years supervised probation and 100 hours of community service following his release.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ in this case: The teacher had to have shown signs of exhaustion, depression, maybe even drug use. And I’d bet money he told one of his colleagues he was having marital troubles. I’m not blaming school staff, but in their best interest, they need to pay attention to coworkers’, students’, parents’ behavior, and when they see a negative change, no matter how small, it could be a clue to something bigger down the road, offer help. If the behavior is troubling, tell a supervisor. Luckily, in this case, no physical harm was done. Although there was a significant cost of time and support services from law enforcement.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thank you for reading my post and for caring about children!

-Robin

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