A teenager who caused the mass evacuation of a Holbrook school after leaving a hoax phone message threatening to “shoot everyone” has been put on probation.
The 14-year-old was “extremely remorseful”, but police said the matter was so serious that he had to be charged with a criminal offence.
“He stated it was a prank and he believed staff would recognise his voice, as he is a previous student, and not take the threat seriously.”
The boy was supported in Albury Children’s Court on Wednesday by his parents and brother for sentencing by magistrate Michael Crompton.
Mr Crompton commented too that it was a serious incident and so nothing less than being placed on probation for 12 months would suffice.
Defence solicitor Camille McKay said the youth had since returned to school after a two-month expulsion, had not committed any further offences and “I would say that he’s at an extreme low risk of re-offending. It appears he did not appreciate the extent of the impact that (his actions) would have.”
A Juvenile Justice report said that while this was clearly a serious matter, the explanation for his actions was a desire for acceptance from his peers.
The youth previously pleaded guilty to give false information person/property in danger, over a call he made to St Patrick’s Primary School on June 13 about 4pm.
He rang the switch but couldn’t raise anyone and so decided to leave a message. “My name is Bobby Jenkins,” he said, “and I’ve got a gun. I’m going to go to the school tomorrow and shoot everyone.”
Administrative staff who arrived at school the next morning at 8.15 heard the message and immediately called the police before evacuating everyone to the nearby Holbrook Public School.
All up, 15 staff and 180 students filled that school’s hall after both campuses went into lock-down.
Police soon identified the youth as the culprit. He went to the police station on June 16 about 5pm, but on legal advice declined to be interviewed. Six days later he confessed.