A frustrated Benton-Franklin Juvenile Court judge raised the bail for a boy accused of bringing a stun gun to Carmichael Middle School, citing growing community anxiety over school safety.
Court Commissioner Jerri Potts noted the 13-year-old is an A student with no criminal record but still she set his bail at $5,000.
Potts said she needed to weigh community sentiment about the 11 or so threats to Mid-Columbia schools in the weeks since the Parkland, Fla., school slayings.
“These cases keep coming before the court,” she said Wednesday during the Richland teen’s first court appearance.
Potts found there was sufficient evidence to hold him pending a prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges. She raised his bail above the $1,000 sought by attorneys.
The Herald is not naming the boy because he has yet to be charged. Prosecutors have until Friday to file.
The Richland School District placed him on emergency expulsion. If bail is posted, the teen will be on house arrest and must stay at least 2,000 feet away from Carmichael.
The boy spoke so softly in court Wednesday that Potts had to tell him to speak up for the recording system.
His parents, speaking through a translator, described their son as a good boy with no criminal record or access to guns. They said he was the victim of ongoing bullying.
Police say the boy was upset about a breakup when he began making threats to “shoot up the school.”
School administrators learned Tuesday that he had threatened to stun two students with a stun gun. They found a handheld stun gun in his backpack in his locker.
Court documents describe the weapon as a handheld stun gun resembling a flashlight with two probes near the end which produce an electrical charge between them. Initial reports called it a Taser.
Mid-Columbia school administrators, law enforcement and courts have responded to at least 11 other threats, most of them at schools, in recent weeks.
The incidents range from an explosive found at Prosser High to a gun sighting at WSU Tri-Cities to incidents in Kennewick, Pasco and Grandview.