Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
The Holiday Gift Auction is Live! Click here and bid now on great local gifts!

Teacher jailed after bomb threat charge

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A western Illinois high school special-education teacher was jailed on paid administrative leave Thursday after being accused of making a bomb threat that forced her school to be evacuated.

Illinois State Police say Michelle L. Smith, 36, of Jerseyville is charged in Calhoun County with falsely making a terrorist threat. Her bond was set at $500,000.

Authorities accuse Smith of leaving a typed letter Monday in a bathroom at the roughly 170-student Calhoun County High School in Hardin, a 1,000-resident village about 40 miles northwest of St. Louis. Police said the note said a bomb had been placed in the school, which was evacuated. No explosive device was found.

Smith was arrested the next day.

It was not immediately clear if Smith has an attorney. She does not have a listed home telephone number.

While declining to discuss Smith’s possible motives for the threat or the teacher’s tenure with the school, district Superintendent Kate Sievers told The Associated Press that Smith has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a possible special meeting of the school board to address the matter.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is scheduled for May 19.

Sievers said the district has been consulting with its attorney, and “we will take the necessary measures we will need to from this point on.”

“My staff and students are safe, and Illinois State Police believe they have the right person in custody,” she said.

A state police news release that announced Smith’s arrest and the threat charge offered no possible explanation for the bomb threat.

Smith’s “about me” page on the high school’s website was deactivated by Thursday.

Loading more