When I first read The Post and Courier story about two James Island Charter High School students being arrested after allegedly being overheard by a fellow student saying they wanted to blow up the school, I was troubled. I realize we live in post-Columbine era, but it’s also one in which schools, parents, and students are hypersensitive to any threat, regardless of how trivial or flippant.
The incident at James Island Charter — at least by the press accounts that were out there earlier today — sounded like it could possibly be an over-reaction and that these two students may have been arrested for little more than expressing a desire that countless students have voiced over the years. In fact, I called up WTMA’s new morning show host Tara Servatius to let her know that I agreed with her that the whole thing could be an overreaction.
However, after speaking with James Island Charter Principal Bob Bohnstengel and looking at the Charleston Police Department incident report, I’ve discovered a few more details about the arrest that have caused me to change my mind.
According to the police, two 14 year old students, one male and one female, were arrested for conspiracy, after the two admitted that there was some validity to the claims but that it was the other student’s idea. Other than that, the police report offered little other information. And Principal Bohnstengel was not able to talk extensively about the incident he also was able to offer a few new nuggets.
One, the information that was originally presented to the school was sketchy, but after investigating it further, the administration believe that what they learned was credible enough to turn it over to the police.
Two, there was evidence that some sort of plan was crafted and that evidence was in the possession of one of the students involved.
Three, after looking over the students records, including guidance counselor notes, there was no indication that the students were bullied as some have speculated.