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A Shelby County High Student will be arraigned today in juvenile court on charges connected with taking a knife to school Monday, making threats, and holding another student hostage, Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong said.
A male student, who is 14, was taken to Lincoln Village, a juvenile detention center in Elizabethtown. He was charged with wanton-endangerment, terroristic threatening, unlawful possession of a weapon on school property, disorderly conduct and unlawful imprisonment for taking a fellow student hostage.
Other than disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor, all the charges are felonies and can carry a sentence of 1 to 5 years.
Armstrong said that deputies will transport the student back to the juvenile courtroom at the Shelby County Judicial Center for his hearing at 9 a.m. At that time, Armstrong said, the judge will decide whether to send the student back to Lincoln Village or to let him out of custody.
“There’s not a bond per se in juvenile court; it’s up to the judge whether they’re going to release him or keep him,” Armstrong said.
He added that a probable scenario would return him to Elizabethtown and then schedule another hearing for a week or so.
Shelby County Attorney Hart Megibben said that penalties for felony offenses do not carry the same amount of time for juvenile offenders. He said he could not speculate on what the sentence would be for the student in Monday’s incident, as there is no set standard.
“It’s case by case, taking a lot of factors into consideration,” he said. “We have to look at the facts and circumstances and make a determination from there. There’s no set standard. Since it’s a juvenile criminal offense, it would go through juvenile court.”
Maegibben's office prosecutes juvenile criminal cases, and he said that typically, the case would not come before him for at least a month for prosecution.
Armstrong said other students helped subdue the suspect, who had pulled a knife with a 3- or 4-inch blade and used it to remove another student from a classroom, just as school was getting under way.
“The student held the knife to the victim,” Armstrong said. “That student then used that [knife] to take the victim out of the classroom and into the hallway.”
At that time, a group of students disarmed the knife-wielding student, although Armstrong did not give details about how the students were able to do that.”
“At that point, our resource officer [Gina Johnson] arrived on scene and took the student into custody and away from the situation,” he said.
There is not yet a known reason why the student took a person away out of the classroom.
According to Superintendent James Neihof, the student stated that they did not want to be at school.
“We believe our staff handled the incident very well,” Neihof said. “In fact, some of our other students were very responsive and helped the adults involved.”
Shelby County High School Principal Eddie Oakley was alerting parents to the situation through a One-Call, and is sending letters home with students.