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Charges Filed Against GHS Threat Suspect

The 17-year-old boy suspected of writing a threat in a Greendale High School bathroom is charged with a misdemeanor, and is expected to make his initial appearance in court this week.

Sympathy over years of bullying led to a lesser charge being filed against the student suspected of making the homecoming week bomb threat at Greendale High School.

The criminal complaint filed late Friday afternoon outlines the way the suspect was reportedly treated by his classmates, including years of teasing and being voted onto homecoming court as a prank. 

Knowing how Nicholas S. Olson, 17, was treated, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office — with the backing of Greendale School District administrators — charged him with a single misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. If convicted, he faces up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.

Had he been charged with the felony count of making a bomb scare, he could have faced up to $10,000 in fines and up to 1-1/2 years in prison, plus two years on community supervision. Olson is due to make his initial appearance in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Wednesday afternoon.

Shortly after Greendale Patch reported a student had been arrested for making the threat, readers began commenting that the boy — who had not been named publicly — had been bullied by his classmates. While many hoped there would be consequences for whoever was responsible, others were sympathetic to what a victim of bullying faces.

A few suggested the family of the bullying victim contact an attorney about suing the district, saying more should have been done by administrators to protect the student from his classmates.

According to the complaint:

At 2:33 p.m. Sept. 20, someone from the Greendale High School administration called police to say a bomb threat had been discovered in a boys bathroom of the school. 

When police arrived, Principal Steven Lodes took an officer to the bathroom, where they found the message "3 DAYS TILL BOOM JK OR AM I?" written in blue ink on the wall of a bathroom stall. This was the Thursday of homecoming week, with the dance planned for Saturday night.

No activities scheduled that day were canceled, but administrators asked the Milwaukee County Bomb Squad to sweep the campus on Sept. 21 before students arrived. A second sweep was conducted Sept. 24, before classes began the next week. No explosive devices were found either time.

As police investigated, an anonymous tip led them to Nicholas Olson. Police searched his locker and found notebooks and writings he appeared to have made, along with blue pens similar to the type used in the bathroom threat. The handwriting officers found in the locker appeared to closely match the writing on the wall.

Police spoke to Olson on Sept. 25, and say he admitted to writing the threat in the bathroom, because "he was upset and angry." Police also said "he did not have a plan to use any explosive device and further that he did not want to hurt anyone."

The officer knows Olson has been bullied, "teased and taunted by his classmates for many years," according to the criminal complaint, and that he had "just been voted onto the homecoming court as a 'joke' by other students." The officer said something similar happened during last school year's prom. 

Police said Olson reported being teased all his life, and the investigating officer said he is "aware that the defendant is ostracized by the other students and appears very depressed due to the situation." 

Police said the administration "had a deal of sympathy for the plight of this student." A district representative told the assistant district attorney who prepared the complaint that they agreed "the defendant should not be charged with a felony but rather a misdemeanor due to to the extenuating circumstances which may have led to his conduct."

RG WI October 06, 2012 at 10:39 PM
WOW. None of you know Nick, his parents, his grandparents, or his sibling(s) or his family history. You don't know what his parents have or have not done to try to stop the bullying, so quit with the his parents should have talked to him. NONE of you know what has or hasn't been said between him & his parents!! I am not defending his decision to write that, because it's not right. But I can guarantee had he not been bullied, that NEVER would have happened! It's damn sad the bullying he endured for YEARS pushed him to that!!!
Frieda October 07, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Counselors aren't paid to care. They are paid to advise students on how to get into college. Anything more challenging than that is beyond their skill levels. Just sayin', as a parent of several non-average kids: no real options for kids whose talents are not well-served by the college-bound curriculum. "Advising" consisted of trite sayings, nothing to indicate that the advisor actually knew anything about the kids. These kids are doing well in the vocational / trades after high school, but were marginalized as "not performing" when trapped in high school. Maybe a lawsuit would be a good thing: Wake up Greendale!
Carol October 07, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Here it is Oct. 7th and this is still being talked about. Why not stop and move on. This poor kid is going to have a rougher time now no matter where he goes cause everyone knows his name & how he looks thanks to TV. I still say blame the parents! I know someone who works in another district and she said when parents are contacted about something their child did, they either don't come to talk about it or say "I don't think my child would do that!". It's sad that this is going on not only in Greendale, but every school in Milwaukee, both parochial & public. Kid are going to say mean things, but they have to be ignored. Our teachers and administrators aren't responsible for everything. Please give this subject about Nick a rest!
RG WI October 09, 2012 at 04:05 PM
^^Yeah, you want to blame the parents when you have no idea if they've tried to help him. Again, clueless comment. Ignore the things kids do to other kids? Either you are one of the bullies or a parent of one. You should be ashamed! But I doubt you have the decency to be! This is a sad situation that never should have happened but you clearly don't care about the whole situation.
Gene November 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Agree with @ RG WI, the previous poster to him really doesnt give a crap about the issue, must be a school board member. She is rigt about one thing though, the PARENTS need to get their bullys under control and teach them how to be a good person. As mentioned somewhere else on this subject, "it starts at the top".

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