Playground Antics Lead To Police Action

School officials crack down on student threats

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What, in other times, may have seemed like a harmless comment on the playground at Payson Elementary School led to a confrontation between Payson police and a 10-year-old student Tuesday.

In the end, the boy was suspended from recess for the remainder of the week, school officials said.

According to officials, the boy was at recess on the playground and joked to a few students that he was going to go home, make a bomb and blow up the school.

"Within five minutes of that, the boy was in my office with two police officers," said PES Principal Roy Sandoval. "It happened in a hurry."

When police talked to the boy, he claimed that several of the children were talking about bombs, said Payson Police Lt. Don Engler, but the 10-year-old was the only one they could confirm.

"I think we made a real impression on the boy," Engler said. "I think he immediately realized that what he had done was pretty serious."

Following the aftermath of the Colorado tragedy, Engler said there have been numerous allegations of bomb threats or other acts of violence in the Payson schools.

"I personally have been on five different incidents in the last few weeks," Engler said. "In all, there have been probably a dozen or so reports. Out of that, there was only one that turned out to be serious, and that was the arrest of the teen-ager last week."

That 13-year-old was arrested for making threats to kill his fellow students and family, and was sent to the juvenile detention center last week.

As for the student at Payson Elementary, Sandoval said the school also has taken the threat seriously.

"He had to write letters to everyone involved, and had a writing assignment," the principal said. "On top of that, he will miss recess for the rest of the week."

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