An art teacher in suburban Detroit has been arrested for allegedly distributing disturbing notes at her middle school warning that it would be bombed by a terrorist.
Johnna Rhone, 59, was accused of slipping the notes into three rooms Friday at Jefferson Middle School in St. Clair Shores – one of which read: “Start break early. He’s gonna do it. Just don’t be in the hall after lunch. Boom. Get it?” the Detroit News reported.
The handwritten missives were discovered in a classroom, the library and the school’s media center, Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido told reporters Monday. School officials alerted police about the chilling notes.
Rhone, a 21-year art teacher, was arrested after police reviewed surveillance camera footage at the school, Lucido said.
Rhone was arraigned via Zoom on Monday in 40th District Court before Judge Joseph Oster. She faces one count of false report or threat of terrorism, a felony.
When one of the notes was read in court, Rhone repeated “Not true” three times, prompting Oster to ask her attorney, Andrew Leone, to instruct her to remain silent, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Oster, who set Rhone’s bond at $75,000, ordered her to be placed under house arrest pending a psychological evaluation.
Leone said his client “looks forward to defending herself.”
“She’s denying these allegations. She’s flat-out denying them,” he said.
Lucido said at a press conference after the hearing that he “wouldn’t want to be around the school nor would I want my own child or children to be around that school,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
“These are unprecedented times with unprecedented things that are happening,” he added.
Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Sierawski told the court that parents were afraid to send their kids to school in a “post-Oxford world,” referring to the Nov. 30 shooting that left four students dead at Oxford High School in Michigan.
“The reality is, I can expect something like this (from) a child, not an adult,” Lucido said, the Free Press reported.
“I can expect something like this as it relates to somebody either crying out for help, somebody who’s maybe desperate, somebody who 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 classrooms would even think about doing something like this,” he added.
Lakeview Public Schools Superintendent Karl Paulson said in a statement that Rhone, who has been placed on administrative leave, has previously never faced any serious complaints from students, parents or co-workers.
“This alleged behavior is unacceptable and disappointing. Lakeview is committed to providing a quality education for the students and families of our community,” he said, according to the Free Press.
Rhone faces a probable cause conference on Feb. 1.