04/19/11 — Students charged with Southern Wayne threats

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Students charged with Southern Wayne threats

By Gary Popp
Published in News on April 19, 2011 1:46 PM

Brittany Magalene Chestnut

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Deja Monique Dyson

DUDLEY -- Two female students at Southern Wayne High School have been charged by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for making bomb threats at the school between April 7 and April 15.

Deja Monique Dyson, 16, and Brittany Magalene Chestnut, 17, both of Mount Olive, were charged Monday with making false reports concerning a destructive device.

Ms. Chestnut, of Rogers Street, was charged for her involvement in the April 7 hoax that was the first of the four threats.

The prank involved the writing "bomb" and "I will blow this school" on the wall of a stairwell. She was placed under a $2,500 unsecured bond.

Ms. Dyson, of Cricket Ridge Road, was charged for the April 13 hoax where "Bomb in locker 403" was found written on a wall in a girls' bathroom. She was placed under a $2,500 secured bond.

Investigators with the Sheriff's Office said the girls were not working in concert and did not even know each other.

At this time, investigators are still looking into who is responsible for the additional threats.

The threats resulted in class interruptions and school evacuations while searches for explosive devices were conducted. Each of the evacuations lasted between 30 to 45 minutes.

Southern Wayne High School principal John Boldt said he hopes Monday's arrests will stop the bomb threats.

"It puts teachers behind schedule and makes it harder on the students. It puts an extra burden on everybody," he said.

In recent weeks, the school has kept parents informed on a daily basis about the threats by automated phone calls to the home and sending letters home with students.

While the threats might be the work of pranksters, to school administrators they are no joke.

"We take even hoaxes very seriously. We have given this issue our undivided attention over the last week or so," Boldt said. "Student safety is our primary concern. Providing a safe place for students to learn is No. 1."

Boldt said the frustration is felt not only by administrators and teachers, but also by students.

"Our students did not want to lose the class time. They were fed up and tired of it," he said.

A positive outcome of the bomb threats has proven to be school morale, Boldt said.

"It has pulled students and the staff a little closer together by dealing with this," he said.

Boldt thanked the Sheriff's Office for its work and said he was impressed by the job done by investigators.

He added that he was proud of the students and staff for working together and for helping to identify possible suspects.

Boldt said disciplinary action carried out on any students found responsible will be in accordance with school system policy.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Mike Kabler served as investigator and arresting officer in the case.

"We take these acts very seriously. They are not thought of just as pranks," Kabler said. "Just because they are teenage girls does not diminish anything."