CHARLESTON -- A teen accused of threatening other students in December was in Coles County court for a hearing Friday, but a JG-TC reporter was ejected from the courtroom before the hearing began.

The newspaper is consulting attorneys about next steps regarding the incident.

The case involves a male Charleston High School student arrested in December after police received information that he threatened other students.

Charleston police in a statement at the time said there was no evidence that "the student had any real thoughts" of harming anyone, and an investigation found that the threat was "only verbal."

Tony West, Charleston police detective, previously told the newspaper that the male student reportedly argued with three females via multiple contacts on Facebook messenger. West said the male was acquainted with one of the other students.

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The male student is accused of becoming frustrated and making threats to "shoot" the three females -- and in one case her family -- and was willing to come to school if necessary, West told the newspaper in December.

West said, "We want people to understand this is unacceptable. You can't say (those threats) and expect it to be swept under the rug."

The student was confronted by police and school officials as he arrived at school the following Monday morning, and no weapons were found in his possession, according to authorities. School officials became aware of the threats earlier that morning.

Superintendent Todd Vilardo said CHS students notified the school's administrators about hearing the threats, and that led to the investigation. School leaders "swiftly" addressed the matter and, Vilardo said, followed proper procedures.

The 17-year-old student was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and was released to his mother's custody, according to the December news release. He was suspended from school.

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Contact Penny Weaver at (217) 238-6863. Follow her on Twitter: @PennyWeaver


General Manager and Editor

Penny Weaver is the general manager and editor of the JG-TC. She also is an award-winning columnist for the newspaper.

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