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TEEN IN KIN'S CUSTODY AFTER DENYING ANTHRAX SCARE

An Iroquois High School student charged with setting off a phony anthrax scare was released to the custody of his mother and stepfather Tuesday after denying a charge of juvenile delinquency.

Erie County Family Court Judge Janice M. Rosa directed that the 15-year-old receive schooling at home, stay away from his school and friends, and stay out of trouble pending further court proceedings. "There will be no second chances," she said.

Judge Rosa said she will rule Feb. 11 on a request by the county to have the boy placed in detention while his delinquency case is prosecuted.

The student surrendered Tuesday on charges that he launched the anthrax scare because he wanted a day off from school. About 700 students were quarantined in their classrooms on Girdle Road in Elma for nearly 10 hours last Wednesday after school officials received a letter stating that "anthrax may be in the building -- this is a warning, not a threat."

Robert P. Sawicki, chief of the county attorney's Family Court Bureau, described it as a case of a "dumb kid doing a dumb thing which caused an incredible disruption."

Erie County Sheriff Patrick M. Gallivan said he will seek the maximum punishment, which would be placement in a juvenile detention facility.

Vincent A. Tobia, the boy's attorney, said the 10th-grader was considering traveling to Utica to visit with an aunt who is a minister. Judge Rosa told him to file a written request.

Michael Glover, the Iroquois school superintendent, said he hopes that the investigation by the Sheriff's Department and the FBI helps stem a recent series of anthrax scares at local schools, government agencies, churches and businesses.

"It's a very serious matter and not a prank," he said.

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