April 9, 2009
Four Students Arrested at MVMS

GOFFSTOWN - Four students were arrested at Mountain View Middle School yesterday in what was the third day in a row of false safety alarms, according to police and school officials.

Three of the students were arrested in connection with sending threatening text messages to 10 of their schoolmates at the start of classes, according to police Lt. Rob Browne. Two were charged for causing a false public alarm. The third is charged with conspiracy to commit false public alarm. The charges are all class B felonies.

A fourth student was arrested and charged with cause a false public alarm after passing a note to another student in a bathroom between 10 and 10:30 a.m., Browne said.

Browne said no individual students were targeted in the threats.

The two incidents marked the third day this week that the school has been rocked by false alarms. On Monday, the school was put into lockdown over a misunderstanding in which a teacher was mistaken for an intruder attempting to break into the school with a gun, after two other teachers overheard students falsely state the teacher had the weapon. The school was evacuated Tuesday after a bomb threat was found on a bathroom wall, but a search did not turn up any explosive devices.

The text message threats were brought to the attention of school administrators yesterday between 8:20 and 8:45 a.m. by two students who had received them. The administrators notified police, who were already on campus. Browne said there is no indication the four arrested students were responsible for the false bomb threat the previous day.

But he said they could have been hoping for another evacuation. "Where we had an evacuation yesterday, that became something that was fun for someone that they wanted to have another evacuation," Browne said. "I think that was the intention of it." 

The school was not locked down or evacuated, according to school board chairman Keith Allard.

After the arrests the administration and police department scheduled a school assembly at 1:45 p.m. Superintendent Stacy Buckley would not allow reporters to attend, saying the event was a time for the school to send a strong message to students.

Buckley said town fire and police officials talked to students. "We stressed to them that we are still looking for additional information," she said. "And we stressed that we take it seriously, that we did have four arrests today, and that we will hold students accountable." 

A seventh-grader who was at the assembly thought her peers got that message and would be reluctant to make any more bomb threats. "I think so because now they know what would happen," said Julie Lefebvre, of Dunbarton. "I don't think they would ever try to do that."


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