By Nathan Grimm firstname.lastname@example.org
May 1, 2014
HARDIN — A Calhoun High School teacher is in custody as a result of a bomb threat that evacuated the school on Monday.
Calhoun County States Attorney Rick Ringhausen charged Michelle L. Smith, 36, of Jerseyville on Thursday with falsely making a terrorist threat. Smith has been held in the Jersey County jail since Tuesday after Monday’s incident. Bail has been set at $500,000.
The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department was notified at approximately 1 p.m. Monday of a typed letter found inside the high school stating that there was a bomb in the building. The school was immediately evacuated and placed on lockdown.
The Illinois Secretary of State Bomb Squad, Secretary of State Capitol Police force, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department worked together to conduct a systematic search of the building, and the search yielded no bomb devices.
Calhoun School District Superintendent Kate Sievers said Smith is still employed by the district and on administrative paid leave. Sievers released a statement Thursday morning detailing the district’s involvement with the matter.
“On Monday, April 28, 2014, the High School was evacuated due to a bomb threat,” Sievers said in the statement. “A thorough search of the building was conducted by law enforcement officers. No bomb or other explosive device was found and the district was assured that students and staff could safely return to the building. The school district is investigating the incident and cooperating with law enforcement. The district will continue to take all appropriate measures to protect students and staff.”
According to online court documents, Smith was charged with harassment by telephone, a Class A Misdemeanor, twice between Dec. 31, 2007, and Jan. 28, 2008.
Nathan Grimm may be reached at 618-463-2515 or on Twitter @GrimmTelegraph.