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Boy expelled after bringing pipe bomb into school

"A 13-year-old boy who brought a pipe bomb into Sacajawea Junior High School last week has been expelled. The boy, whose name the Mirror is witholding because he is a minor, brought the six-inch long device to school after finding it Sept. 22 near his bus stop before classes began. The boy was expelled under the school district’s “zero tolerance” policy that bans explosive devices on campus, said district spokeswoman Victoria Bergsagel. The expulsion took effect last Friday and came at the recommendation of school officials.Bergsagel said the mother and the boy attended a special hearing Sept. 24 where their case was heard by an independent attorney contracted by the district. The attorney’s decision whether to uphold the school’s expulsion or let the boy return to class was not disclosed. “If the student’s family disagrees with the ruling, they can ultimately appeal it to the school board,” Bergsagel said.After finding the bomb, the boy stuffed the device into his backpack before boarding a school bus and rode to school with the bomb held inside.When he arrived at Sacajawea, the boy sought out a campus security guard and gave him the device. The guard placed the bomb in the trunk of his vehicle, then drove to a vacant church parking lot. Police and a Seattle bomb disposal unit who arrived later detonated the device.Federal Way police department spokesperson Bob Schubert said investigators are still determining the course of events.“Maybe in his mind he thought he was doing the right thing,” Schubert said. “But we go around to schools and tell the kids never to pick up anything that looks dangerous.”Sacajawea Principal Fannie Kelley sent a letter home with students on the day of the incident explaining what had occurred. The letter stated that at no time were students in danger. Kelley was unavailable for comment before press deadline.Pipe bombs are normally six inches long and an inch to inch-and-a-half in diameter. They are secured with blasting caps or a fuse. When they explode, Schubert said, potential for injury increases because of sharp, flying debris from the metal casing.Police are also investigating two bomb threats targeted at Decatur High School. The calls were placed to 911 dispatchers, one shortly before midnight Sunday, the other at 7:30 a.m. on Monday.Decatur Principal Gerald Millett said the school’s gym was the focus of the caller’s threat. Before police arrived on campus Millett evacuated the gym and four portable classrooms located near the structure. Federal Way police sought assistance from a Port of Seattle K-9 unit. The team searched campus buildings and courtyards but found no evidence of a bomb. Classes resumed by 10:30 a.m.“All the kids were wonderful in their cooperation,” Millett said. “They did exactly as they were told and no one was hurt.”Like Sacajawea, Decatur staff also released a letter explaining the incident. Millett said he urges students and parents to use the school’s safety tip line to report suspicious activity or any school safety concerns.Police are investigating and searching for suspects.“Right now we’re interviewing people, talking with students, staff and faculty,” Schubert said. “Maybe someone may have seen or heard something that they just weren’t sure about.” Anyone with information can call the department’s main number at 661-4600."

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