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Local

Rock Falls boy, 17, accused of threatening school, charged with felony

Teen's arrest latest in string of threats by boys ages 14 to 18

ROCK FALLS – A 17-year-old Rock Falls High School student is charged with felony disorderly conduct and is suspended after police say he threatened the school on social media.

He’s at least the fifth current or former local student to be charged with making threats to or at schools since late February.

The Rock Falls threat was brought to the attention of school staff, who called police around 8 p.m. Thursday. The investigation immediately determined that the threat was not credible, and the boy was arrested, Rock Falls police said in a news release Friday morning.

His suspension will remain in place pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, at which he could be expelled.

Felony disorderly conduct is punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison.

Other incidents in the past few weeks include:

• Senior Nathan S. Noble, 18, of Tampico, who was arrested around 11:30 a.m. March 15 at Prophetstown High School. According to court documents, Noble, who, when he “was leaving a classroom for disciplinary reasons, stated he would be the next school shooter.”

• That same day, a 14-year-old boy was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct for threatening violence against fellow Morrison High students about a week before, on March 8, Morrison Police Chief Brian Melton said.

The boy was processed at the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department and released to his mother. His case will proceed in juvenile court.

• Also on March 15, a 17-year-old Davis Junction boy was charged with felony disorderly conduct after Ogle County Sheriff’’s investigators said he made threats the evening before to bring a weapon to Stillman Valley High School and cause harm.

School officials were tipped off to the threat by fellow students, investigators said.

• In addition, on Feb. 27, former Fulton High School student Blake A. Dornbush, 18, of Fulton, was arrested after police say he threatened a current student and prompted a “soft lockdown” at all three River Bend School District buildings.

Dornbush, who graduated last year, pleaded not guilty March 12 to disorderly conduct and harassment through electronic communications, both felonies carrying 1 to 3 years in prison.

He has an April 25 pretrial hearing and a May 15 jury trial, and is free after posting $2,440 of his $25,000 bond.

On March 7, the court gave him permission to travel outside the area to obtain a mental health screening and, if needed, to undergo treatment.

That investigation also was kicked off after students reported the threats to school officials, police said.

Elsewhere around the region, a 14-year-old Mattoon High School student admitted in court Thursday that she threatened gun violence at her school on social media, even though she didn’t have a gun, because she was bored.

Last month on Snapchat, she posted a message to “kill you all,” and also called her plan “Round Two,” a reference to a shooting at the school on Sept. 20 in which one student was injured and another charged with aggravated battery with a firearm.

At her next court hearing April 19, the judge could order her held in a juvenile facility until she turns 21.

A 15-year-old Mattoon High School boy is charged as a juvenile in the September incident with aggravated battery with a firearm, accused of shooting at a girl on Sept. 20.

A teacher grabbed his arm and he missed the girl but hit another student in the chest, and managed to fire more shots before he was stopped, investigators said.

The boy since has been diagnosed with defiance disorder. A psychiatrist has said the boy thought he was being bullied, but also acts like a bully, and will need 4 to 5 years of treatment. The judge in the case has granted a request to have the boy also evaluated by a state agency.

In the meantime, the Coles County state’s attorney has filed a motion seeking to have the boy be deemed eligible for a longer sentence than what’s possible for a juvenile offense; a hearing on the motion is set for March 29.

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