12-year-old arrested in New Prague Middle School hoax

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Students evacuated
New Prague Middle School students who had been evacuated to a nearby building return to school after a false report of a shooting at the school Wednesday morning, Mar. 20, 2013. Shortly afterward, they were dismissed from school for the day.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

A 12-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday after police say he falsely reported a shooting at New Prague Middle School.

Some dozen law enforcement agencies responded to the incident only to find that it was a false alarm.

"In this day and age you have to take these things very seriously," New Prague Police Chief Mark Vosejpka said during a news conference.

Students were dismissed early to "relieve anxiety," Superintendent Larry Kauzlarich said. Parents were allowed to pick up their children, and buses took other students home.

Fritz Shimota left work and went to the school to check on his daughter, Jackie.

"It's just weird," Shimota said. "I went to high school here, and never, ever, you wouldn't even think of something like this in New Prague."

It was the second prank the school district had dealt with recently. A student who called in a bomb threat at New Prague High School was expelled for the incident, Kauzlarich said.

"It is very frustrating," Kauzlarich. "We have to take them seriously. Every one of them."

Two 911 calls were made from a deactivated cell phone at about 7:55 a.m., Vosejpka said. He said the investigation is still active, but police believe no other students were involved.

New Prague is about 45 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. The middle school has about 875 students in grades 6-8.