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Student admits to sending bomb scare



LAKE GENEVA SCHOOLS BACK TO BUSINESS - After three total days lost last week to a bomb scare and heavy snow, it appears as though the Lake Geneva School District is back to normal. On Monday, Jan. 31, Badger High, Lake Geneva Middle, Star Center, Eastview and Central-Denison elementary schools all were evacuated following the receipt of an e-mail claiming bombs were located in Badger and the other schools. School District Administrator Jim Gottinger said administration initially was convinced it was a student who sent out the e-mail. "We thought it was a prank from the beginning, but you can't take a chance," Gottinger said about evacuating all the students. For Gottinger, it was the first experience he had vacating a school building for the remainder of a school day. But he said the process ran relatively smoothly, mostly thanks to police, the city and local organizations who opened their churches and facilities to the children who had to wait to be picked up and taken home. "The response and support was terrific," he said. "We appreciated the support from everyone." Gottinger said kids were taken to all different areas near the schools as they waited for parents or other family members to pick them up. He said almost everyone was out of the emergency shelter areas by about 1:30 p.m. "I thought everything ran very smoothly," Lake Geneva Police Chief Michael Rasmussen said. "Moving kids out of the schools and getting them home worked very well." Gottinger also said new technology, which included phone message alerts sent to parents to keep them updated on what was going on, also was helpful. "Improved technology helped us communicate with families and assure them we were doing the best we could," he said. After bomb-sniffing dogs searched the schools and found nothing, students returned to school Tuesday. Then, one of the biggest snowstorms in years caused some early releases on Tuesday and then school closures Wednesday and Thursday. About 2-feet of snow and blizzard conditions struck the area. Students returned to school Friday and Gottinger said Monday he didn't notice anyone affected by the events of last week. "I think things are back to normal," Gottinger said. District officials are still determining an exact cost of the bomb scare. He said it was a lost day of education and teachers and staff were paid to perform duties that had little to do with education. "There was definitely a cost to the school district," Gottinger said. Although he said he couldn't specify an exact monetary cost, he said it cost "tens of thousands of dollars."
February 09, 2011 | 09:03 AM
A 15-year-old Badger student has been arrested in connection with the Jan. 31 e-mail bomb threat.

According to the Lake Geneva Police Department, the e-mail was traced back to a school computer. The investigation, which also included the FBI and the Lake Geneva School District, then led police to the teenager who admitted to sending the bomb threat. Through cooperation with the family, the student admitted to police that he acted alone in sending the e-mail out from a school computer on Monday morning.

The police report stated the boy said "he never thought this incident would cause such a commotion and for school to be evacuated and bomb dogs called in."

Police Chief Michael Rasmussen said the department takes incidents such as this very seriously and it can result in significant charges.

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The department will refer charges against the teenager to the Walworth County District Attorney's Office through juvenile intake, and Lake Geneva School Administration also is expected to take action against the student for his involvement in the incident.

School District Administrator Jim Gottinger called it a "pretty serious matter" and said the administration will follow through with disciplinary action against the student.

On Jan. 31, at about 9:03 a.m., Lake Geneva School District administrators and the Lake Geneva Police Department school liaison officer received an e-mail claiming there were bombs located in Badger High School and other schools. That led to the evacuation of Badger, Lake Geneva Middle School, Star Center, Central-Denison and Eastview elementary school.

The school buildings were then searched with the use of bomb-detecting dogs from Milwaukee. According to Rasmussen, everything was considered all clear by about 8 p.m.

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