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4:03 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

Police continue to monitor PHS following threat

PRESCOTT - Police will continue to have a presence at Prescott High School following the investigation and arrest of a 15-year-old male student for allegedly threatening to "shoot up the school" this week.

Prescott police Lt. Amy Bonney said the suspect "admitted to writing threatening messages at the school."

The student was booked into Yavapai County Juvenile Detention Facility for two counts of hoax, four counts of aggravated damage and four counts of threats. The hoax and aggravated damage charges are all felonies, while threats are generally misdemeanors.

Despite the threats, Principal Stephanie Hillig said school attendance was strong.

"Our attendance rate was great yesterday and it's great today," she said.

Fewer than 4 percent of students were absent Thursday. Absenteeism was slightly higher Friday, almost 7 percent, but Hillig said it's typical to end a school week with slightly lower attendance.

"We have had a police presence here today to help students feel safe and secure," Hillig said Friday afternoon. Police will be back at the school Monday and into the coming week, she added.

"We appreciate parents for their trust and support," she said.

Prescott Police Department led the investigation, with support from the state Department of Public Safety, after the officer assigned to the high school was notified of the threatening graffiti Monday afternoon.

"This case was successfully resolved due to the immediate reporting of the incident by staff at the Prescott High School and swift and cooperative efforts by local and state law enforcement," Bonney said.

School officials were not involved, Hellig said, in a Thursday afternoon interview, during which the student reportedly admitted to allegations and was subsequently arrested.

While the case moves through the justice system, school officials will work a parallel track, determining what, if any, sanctions to impose on the student.

"Please understand that we cannot share the name of the student or the consequences that will be issued," Hillig wrote Thursday evening in an update to parents.

On Friday, she pointed to established policies related to student discipline.

All student disciplinary actions are considered on a case-by-case basis within established guidelines.

Prescott High School classifies threats and intimidation as Level 3 infractions, the highest degree within school policy. Consequences for Level 3 infractions can vary from detention to long-term suspension or expulsion."

A school administrator may suspend a student for as many as 10 days. Longer suspensions, up to 180 school days, require a hearing with an outside hearing officer. Expulsion is at the prerogative of the governing board and requires its own hearing.

Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen.