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DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - A teacher who was upset because she didn't get her preferred classroom assignment left more than a dozen scribbled threats at her elementary school and a suspicious device in a student's desk, authorities said.
Susan Romanyszyn, 45, was charged Thursday with 17 counts of making terroristic threats in connection with the incidents at Longstreth Elementary School in Warminster in October.
Authorities said the fourth-grade teacher scribbled messages on school walls and on paper that threatened bomb and gun violence. The messages were written in sloppy handwriting with numerous misspellings and some with crudely drawn cartoons, police said.
A prosecutor said the actions stemmed from Romanyszyn's assignment to teach fourth grade rather than fifth grade. "She was upset or disgruntled at not getting the classroom assignment she wanted," Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry said.
Police also allege Romanyszyn put a water bottle containing white power and screws into a student's desk and scattered nails around the lot where teachers parked, leading to school trips and activities being delayed or canceled.
In an interview with police, Romanyszyn denied having anything to do with the incidents and said she wasn't upset about not getting a fifth-grade teaching position, according to a court document. Her attorney rejected the allegations.
"In a case like this, you go on a person's character, and the character of this woman is out there for inspection," Sara Webster said. "Nobody says she's an angry person. She loved what she did, and she loved her students and she always got good evaluations."
Romanyszyn was arrested after authorities interviewed students, administrators and teachers and reviewed footage from school surveillance cameras, Warminster Police Chief Michael Murphy said.
Romanyszyn, who has been on administrative leave since Oct. 22, turned herself in to police and was released after posting $100,000 bail. She faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
Romanyszyn was previously a middle school teacher at Eugene Klinger Middle School, where in 2004 she was one of two elementary mathematics teachers selected as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
The accused teacher was once a finalist for a state-wide math teaching award. Amazing.