A charge accusing a Mainland Regional High School student of texting a threat in December has been dismissed.
The 15-year-old Linwood girl, whose name has not been released due to her age, was arrested Dec. 19 after she allegedly texted that there was going to be a shooting at the school later that week. She was charged with creating a false public alarm — the third-degree crime — and expelled from the school.
But the text was one sent to her that she passed on to a friend who does not attend the school, defense attorney Darrin Lord said.
“The text was in reference to something she had heard from other students at Mainland,” Lord said. “It did not involve her or any actions by her.”
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the charge against the girl was dismissed.
Lord said the girl, a sophomore at the school, was expelled without an investigation and that she has been home-schooled since.
The investigation was done properly and the information given to the Atlantic County prosecutor, who approved the arrest, Police Chief Robert James said.
“We followed all the proper steps, and we had authorization to charge her,” he said.
Superintendent Thomas Baruffi said he did not know enough about why the charge was dropped to be able to comment on it. The girl’s reinstatement as a student would depend upon the findings.
“If the student is determined not to be guilty, we would have no basis to keep her out, nor would we want to,” he said. “That’s why we have a process.”
Lord said the girl was handcuffed, arrested and expelled for no reason.
“She should have never been charged,” he said.
Contact Lynda Cohen:
Follow Lynda Cohen on Twitter @LyndaCohen