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Friday, April 18 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-04-18 16:33:50 GMT
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Thursday, April 17 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:16:12 GMT
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MERRILL, MI (WNEM) -
Two students could receive 20 years in prison if they're convicted of setting off bottle rockets inside one Mid-Michigan school.
The sound of explosions echoed through the halls of Merrill High School last Thursday. The sounds put students and staff on edge.
"My heart just stopped and I said, 'Oh I hope nobody got hurt, that was my first instinct,'" said Merrill Schools Superintendent Sarah Kettelhohn.
Kettelhohn said smoke filled the hallways and there was a moment of chaos on May 8. But she soon learned it was just a prank. Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel said two students set off bottle rockets. One of his deputies arrested the two suspects immediately after the explosions.
"One of them said they did it on a dare, and I just can't fathom what would possess someone to do that in light of the world we live in today," said Federspiel.
On Monday, 17-year old senior Troy O'Dell and 17-year old junior Cody Felver were arraigned in Saginaw County with charges stemming from explosive violations. Because it happened on school grounds, they face 20-year felonies.
"Extremely poor decisions, their intentions were to scare and create fear, and we have laws that prevent people from doing that," said Federspiel.
Parents TV5 spoke with Monday afternoon said while they disagree with what the students did, 20 years is a steep penalty.
"Kids do stupid things sometimes, but to hear 20 years for a prank like this, I just think it's a little outrageous," said parent Aubrey Woods.
"If that was your child, I hope to God my child would never do that, but 20 years, that's huge," said parent Stacie Wazny.
O'Dell would have been done with school on Friday, May 9, as that was the qualified senior's last day. Felver will face the school board next. Kettelhohn said the district has a zero-tolerance policy.
Kettelhohn said the district never went on lockdown because the two were apprehended shortly after the incident.
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