Celina Father Accused of Making School Gun Threat

School officials say man told them he was conducting experiment on school security

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ronald Miller was charged with making a terrorist threat after school officials say he showed up at his child's elementary school and said he had a gun. (Published Thursday, Jan 10, 2013)

    A Celina man who allegedly told elementary school officials he had a gun as part of an experiment on school safety is facing third-degree felony charges.

    School officials said Ronald Miller went to Celina Elementary School, where his child is a student, on Wednesday and claimed to have a gun.

    Administrators said Miller first approached a school greeter with whom he was acquainted and said he had a gun.

    "He told her he was a gunman and his target was on the inside -- and 'I'm going inside. What are you going to do about it?'" Superintendent Donny O'Dell said.

    O'Dell says the school greeter froze in panic, allowing Miller to walk through the school's front door while children were entering the building for the school day.

    Miller then entered the office and made similar threats, he said.

    "He told them that he is a shooter and 'you're dead, and you're dead,'" O'Dell said.

    O'Dell said Miller then asked to speak to the school principal, telling staff he was conducting an experiment into school safety.

    Miller never produced a weapon.

    School officials called administrators and, eventually, police once Miller left the property.

    "The main thing that you learn is that it could be anybody at any time," O'Dell said.

    Celina parent David Sciano, who has two children at the school, said the incident illustrates how little the district has stepped up security in the wake of last month's school shooting in Connecticut.

    "A guy walks in, makes threats. Everyone is sitting there terrified, doesn't know what to do," he said. "It shows that this is going to happen again."

    Sciano said he had heard about the incident through word of mouth.

    School officials said they had held off communicating with parents so it would not interfere with the police investigation.

    A letter went home with students on Thursday afternoon.

    "We're not perfect, but what we've got to do is get more perfect," O'Dell said.

    The superintendent said the district has looked at its security protocols since the fall and often runs emergency drills.

    He said the district has considered and will look into hiring a school resource officer.

    In the meantime, parents such as Sciano said they feel bad for Miller for making what seems to have been a poor choice with lasting consequences.

    "His intent was probably just to say, 'Hey, you've done nothing,' and that's what it showed, so if that's what it takes, that's a shame," Sciano said. "This guy gave up his life to make a point. I don't know if he was going to hurt anyone or not, but if there's anything that we've gotten out of this, is that we know that we are not prepared."

    Miller was arrested late Wednesday on a charge of making a terroristic threat. He is being held on a $75,000 bond.