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Pair of threats made against Bellefontaine High School

Published: Friday, September 07, 2018 @ 8:07 PM
By: Jenna Lawson, Parker Perry - Staff Writers

An 18-year-old Bellefontaine student was arrested after making a threat against his high school during the school’s first active shooter drill on Wednesday.

Jonas Turner-Stiles faces a first degree misdemeanor charge for allegedly telling another student that it would be fun to “shoot up the school and scare people.”

The incident was later reported to a teacher, who informed Bellefontaine school resource officer, Doug Walters.

He said there’s zero tolerance for any type of threat.

“You just can’t take any threat as a joke anymore,” Walters said.

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There was also another, separate threat made by a former Bellefontaine student on Sunday. According to Walters, the threat was overheard and reported. That minor was arrested Thursday night and is now facing a felony charge.

Lt. Rick Herring of the Bellefontaine Police Department said a four-man team went into the school prior to the start of the drill and made sure there wasn’t a threat that could be observed.

Bellefontaine City Schools Superintendent Brad Hall said he’s glad that in both cases, people weren’t afraid to speak up.

“We encourage our students, staff (and) larger community to report something they hear that doesn’t feel right, doesn’t sound right,” he said.

Hall said there will be punishments at the school level for Turner-Stiles, in addition to the criminal charges he already faces.

The man’s arrest comes just a couple weeks after a Graham student was arrested for making a threat while at a bus stop. In that case, officials said the student admitted to making threatening comments, regarding the use of a weapon to other students at the bus stop on Wednesday, according to a news release.

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Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said Friday the student had been recommended for expulsion from the district but the student hasn’t been available for a hearing so the process has been delayed.

The student is currently on suspension, he said.

“Our bus routes are safe, as are our schools,” he said. “The school staff appreciate students who share information when others make these types of disturbing comments. It is important that students who see or hear something, say something in a timely manner.”

Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi did not respond to a message seeking comment on whether the student is facing criminal charges in the case.