Johnna Rhone Michigan art teacher charged with posting bomb threats at Jefferrson Middle School as she becomes the first adult charged making such threats.
A Detroit area art teacher has been charged with posting hoax notes under the doors of three classrooms in her own school warning that it would be bombed by a terrorist.
Johnna Rhone, 59, wrote at least three notes with threatening language last week at Jefferson Middle School in St. Clair Shores, Macomb County prosecutor Pete Lucido said.
Read one of the notes: ‘Start break early. He’s gonna do it. Just don’t be in the hall after lunch. Boom! Get it?’
The three hand-written notes by Rhone were found under the doors of a classroom, the library and the media center. Surveillance cameras at the school showed the art teacher placing the notes the Detroit News reported.
Upon her arrest, Rhone was charged with making a false threat of terrorism, a felony that could result in the teacher serving twenty years jail, if found guilty. While authorities offered no motive, the teacher’s actions comes as multiple schools in the area have received false ‘terror’ alarms following the recent school mass shooting at Oxford High School on November 30 that saw four children shot dead.
Rhone is the first adult and teacher to have been accused of issuing such a threat.
Rhone’s attorney, Andrew Leone, denied the allegations. Rhone is a creative arts teacher that has taught at the school for 21 years.
‘I only read things like this and it has one plain straightforward meaning,’ Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido said at a news conference after the court hearing according to the Detroit Free Press.
‘I wouldn’t want to be around the school nor would I want my own child or children to be around that school. And I don’t think any parent would want their kid around the school when somebody is making a threat of that nature. We are all on high alert.
These are unprecedented times with unprecedented things that are happening,’ Lucido said.
According to school officials, Rhone has never been the subject of any serious complaints or concerns raised against her by students, parents or staff.
‘This alleged behavior is unacceptable and disappointing,’ Lakeview Public Schools Superintendent Karl Paulson said in a statement. ‘Lakeview is committed to providing a quality education for the students and families of our community.’
‘Somebody either cried out for help. Somebody who’s maybe desperate. Somebody wants a day off.’
Rhone was placed on administrative leave, with police saying the teacher failed to cooperate with them or comment on her case.
During a recent video court conference call Rhone was seen from inside the cell of the St. Clair Shores Police Department saying: ‘not true, not true, not true.’
Should the educator make bond, she is forbidden to have any contact with anyone from Jefferson Middle School.
Meanwhile, parents are afraid to send their children to school in a ‘post-Oxford world,’ assistant prosecutor Patrick Sierawski said in court, a reference to the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School that killed four students and injured seven more people.
Since the deadly shooting three weeks ago, nearly a hundred kids in the Detroit metropolitan area have been charged with making similar threats. Rhone is the first adult- a teacher to be charged with making such threats.
‘Somebody either cried out for help. Somebody who’s maybe desperate. Somebody wants a day off. But I don’t have a crystal ball to give you an exact answer as to why some adult who’s in supervision and control of our children in the classroom would even think about doing something like this,’ Pete Lucido told reporters.
Classes were not canceled following Rhone’s arrest. Police searched the teacher’s home and said there were no guns or weapons to be found.
Her bond is set at 10 percent of a $75,000, house arrest with a GPS tether and psychological testing.
A probable cause conference for Rhone has been set for February 1.