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Alma student expelled for false bomb threat

An Alma student was expelled Thursday after being arrested for making a false bomb threat at the high school March 14.

At the Alma School Board meeting Thursday night, members agreed to expel a student whom Superintendent David Woolly said had confessed to making a hoax bomb threat at the school.

While the student’s name was not divulged, Kevin Ray Newton, 18, of Alma was arrested March 20 in relation to the incident.

Newton was admitted to the Crawford County Detention Center and later released on bond. He is facing the felony charge of communicating a false alarm.

Woolly said the student was “expecting” school expulsion after confessing to Alma police that he was responsible for the hoax threat that forced school officials to temporarily evacuate Alma High School to the football field.

Students returned to class after about two hours, once police had done a sweep of the school and deemed the threat unfounded.

During the meeting, Woolly told board members that he knew that the expulsion of a student was a difficult decision.

“You never like the idea of expelling a student, never, because that is us failing him,” Woolly said.

Still, Woolly “highly recommended” the student be expelled, citing the importance of sending a strong message about consequences to the student body.

Woolly also noted that the student still faces prosecution.

Punishment for communicating a false alarm for a juvenile can include immediate incarceration in a juvenile detention center for up to 90 days, be placed on probation for a period of 24 months, community service, electronic monitoring, home detention, mental health assessments, fines, counseling, intensive supervision and tracking, boot camp, restitution for emergency response time, and costs.

Adults can be sentenced to up 6 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Board members once again tabled a school safety issue that has been under discussion for several months.

The proposal would require board members approve asking voters for a school tax increase of 1.2 mills to help pay for safety precautions in the districts four schools.

According to numbers provided by Woolly, the millage would bring in an additional $196,160 per year.

About $135,000 would go toward the salaries and benefits for three additional police officers at the schools, and the other nearly $61,000 would go toward the payment of a bond that would cover the safety costs.

Safety measures in the proposal include cameras at all doors and corridors, and around building exteriors; enclosing open space classroom doors and walls; and making office and entrance changes.

Disagreements between board members center around which measures would be most necessary, and asking residents for a tax increase.

Discussion of the issue will be brought up again at the next board meeting in May.

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