A fifth-grader was arrested on a felony charge Nov. 16 after he allegedly made bomb threats that disrupted classes at the Simsboro, La., consolidated high school for four hours. The youth was caught when school officials used a telephone service to trace the call.

The student was to have had a disciplinary conference at the Lincoln Parish School Board office at 8 a.m. By the time the youth and a parent arrived, 30 minutes late, school officials involved in the conference had left, said Assistant Superintendent Ronnie Suggs.

By 9 a.m., Simsboro’s consolidated kindergarten-through-12th-grade campus and Ruston High School had received bomb threats from a pay phone at a Ruston convenience store.

Students and staff at Simsboro moved outdoors while deputies searched the school. Ruston High officials cordoned off an auditorium separated from the main school buildings and twice combed the building for explosives.

The threat tested a new emergency response plan that the district previously used only during tornado and fire drills. The plan includes steps to trace threatening callers.

“What we did was hit ‘star-6-9,'” said Simsboro Principal Judy Mabry, referring to a phone service option that automatically redials a caller’s number. “It worked for us today.”

Ruston police traced the phone number and charged the 12-year-old boy with communicating false information of a planned arson. The boy faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.