Jail Time For Making Homecoming Bomb Threat
A judge called Nicholas Olson's bomb threat a "terroristic act" and sentenced him to spend time in the House of Correction, against the prosecutor's recommendation for probation.
Calling the bomb threat a student made to disrupt Greendale's homecoming festivities a "terroristic act," a Milwaukee County judge said he couldn't let the teenage boy off without jail time.
Nicholas Olson, 17, was a senior at Greendale High School when he made a bomb threat during homecoming week. He was trying to get the dance called off, after he had been voted onto homecoming court as a prank.
Prosecutors had recommended Nicholas Olson, 17, serve only probation and pay restitution to the Greendale School District, a sentence Olson's attorney also supported. Judge Daniel Konkol didn't agree, and sentenced Olson to serve one week in the House of Correction as well as the year of probation.
Konkol said things like Olson's threatening scrawl in the high school bathroom "cannot be tolerated in a free society."
"He affected human beings and their lives. He affected other children going to school. He affected parents of other children going to school."
Olson was credited with one day already served and will spend six days in jail with release privileges granted for work, school and counseling.
As part of his probation, he must pay $2,685 in restitution to the school district and have no contact with Greendale High School. Olson has left the school and is finishing his senior year elsewhere. He is on track to graduate in the spring and plans to attend college next year.
Olson apologized to the school and all those his actions affected.
"There's no excuse for anything that I did," he said.
Assistant District Attorney Janet Protasiewicz said Olson's Sept. 20 message on a bathroom stall—"3 DAYS TILL BOOM JK OR AM I?"—was written out of frustration after years of other students bullying and taunting him.
The threat resulted in the district moving the homecoming dance to Greendale Middle School and creating a task force focused on climate and culture issues in schools.
What Olson did was wrong, Protasiewicz said. But because he had no intentions of actually harming anybody, had no previous record and wasn't a threat to the community, she decided to charge him with a misdemeanor and not a felony.
"Those are also the reasons why I don't think he should have any incarceration time," Protasiewicz said.
Konkol disagreed, saying Olson got a "tremendous break" with the misdemeanor. Protasiewicz's decision also drew criticism from Sheriff David Clarke.
Konkol said parents should not be concerned about whether their kids can attend school safely or "whether they will be blown up." A message needs to be sent that threats like this cannot be tolerated, he said.
"It's beyond inappropriate. It is criminal," Konkol said.
"Even with probation, I think there has to be a very serious penalty ... to underscore how serious this matter is and hopefully to deter others."