State

Teacher admits making in-school bomb threat

EAST ST. LOUIS – A western Illinois woman faces up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to threatening to blow up the high school where she taught special education.

Michelle Lynn Smith, 36, of Jerseyville pleaded guilty this week to a felony count of conveying a false threat. She remains jailed, pending her sentencing on Dec. 15.

Authorities say Smith left a computer-generated note April 28 in a restroom at the Calhoun County High School in Hardin, a 1,000-resident town near the Mississippi River about 40 miles northwest of St. Louis.

“This school is going down today. KABOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the note said, according to federal court filings. “I’m tired of all the people here. Everyone is going down ... So long and GOOD-BYE!!!!!!!!!”

The letter’s discovery prompted an evacuation of the roughly 170-student school, but a search turned up no bomb.

Smith was arrested the next day.

Smith’s court-appointed public defender, Phillip Kavanaugh, has told The Associated Press that she didn’t have any explosives or the “wherewithal” to carry out the threat.

The district’s superintendent, Kate Sievers, says Smith was fired by the school board in May.

Online court records show Smith was charged with two misdemeanor counts of telephone harassment in 2008 in Jersey County, but prosecutors later dropped those charges.

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