Longtime Detroit College art teacher accused of making false bomb threats

Johnna Rhone, 59, an art teacher at Jefferson Middle School for 21 years, was ordered to have no contact with anyone at the school after being accused by the court of having made a false report or threatened with terrorism.

A 59-year-old art teacher from Detroit has been accused of posting hoaxes under the doors of three classrooms at her own school, warning that she would be bombed by a terrorist.

Johnna Rhone, 59, wrote at least three threatening notes last week at Jefferson Middle School in St. Clair Shores, Macomb County District Attorney Pete Lucido said.

One of the notes read, “Start the break early. He is going to do it. Don’t stay in the hallway after lunch. Boom! You understand?’

The three handwritten notes from Rhône were found under the doors of a classroom, library and media library. The school’s surveillance cameras captured the footage.

After his arrest, Rhône was charged with making a fake terrorist threat, a crime that could result in the teacher serving twenty years behind bars, if found guilty. No motive for the bizarre crime has been shared, although schools in the area have been hit by several false alarms since four children were gunned down at nearby Oxford High School on November 30.

Rhône is the first teacher to be accused of issuing such a threat.

Rhone’s attorney, Andrew Leone, has denied the allegations. Rhône is a creative arts teacher who has been teaching at the school for 21 years.

“I only read stuff like this and it makes plain and simple meaning,” Macomb County District Attorney Pete Lucido said at a press conference after the court hearing.

“I wouldn’t want to be around school and I wouldn’t want my own child or children to be around this school. And I don’t think a parent would want their child to be in school when someone makes a threat of this nature. We are all on high alert.

These are unprecedented times with unprecedented things happening, ”Lucido concluded.

Classes at Jefferson Middle School in St. Clair Shores, a suburb of Detroit, were not canceled after Rhone's arrest on Friday.  Police searched the teacher's home and said there were no guns or weapons to be found

Classes at Jefferson Middle School in St. Clair Shores, a suburb of Detroit, were not canceled after Rhone’s arrest on Friday. Police searched the teacher’s home and said there were no guns or weapons to be found

Throughout her time at the school, Rhône was never the subject of any serious complaints or concerns raised against her by students, parents or staff, according to a statement from the Superintendent of Lakeview Public Schools, Karl Paulson.

“This alleged behavior is unacceptable and disappointing,” Paulson said in a statement. “Lakeview is committed to providing quality education to students and families in our community. ”

Rhône was placed on administrative leave, while the school district coordinated with local authorities to facilitate her arrest on Friday. Police said the Rhone had not cooperated with them and declined to comment on the matter.

In court, as the evidence was unveiled before the judge, Rhone was on video conference from inside the St. Clair Shores Police Department cell saying “not true, not true, not true”.

Rhone appeared in court on video conference from inside the St. Clair Shores Police Department cell saying:

Rhone appeared in court on video conference from inside the St. Clair Shores Police Department cell saying, “Not true, not true, not true” after prosecutor Peter Lucido read the one of his notes that said, “Start the break early. He’s going to do it. Don’t stay in the hallway after lunch. Boom! Do you get it?”

If Rhone is released on bail, then she is not allowed to have any contact with anyone at Jefferson Middle School.

Meanwhile, parents are afraid to send their children to school in a “post-Oxford world,” Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Sierawski said in court, in reference to the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School which killed four students and injured seven others.

Since the deadly shooting three weeks ago, nearly 100 children in the greater Detroit area have been accused of making similar threats.

However, Rhône is the first adult – a teacher.

“Someone shouted for help. Someone who may be desperate. Someone wants a day off. But I don’t have a crystal ball to give you an exact answer as to why an adult who supervises and controls our kids in the classroom would even think about doing something like this, ”Pete Lucido told reporters.

Classes were not canceled after Rhône’s arrest. Police searched the teacher’s home and said there were no guns or weapons to be found.

His bail is set at 10% in the amount of $ 75,000, placed under house arrest with a GPS tether and psychological tests.

A probable cause conference for the Rhône has been set for February 1.

Christopher S. Washington