Teacher arrested in school threats case

January 31, 2008 9:33:17 PM PST
A teacher has gone from the classroom to the courtroom after police say she made violent threats to the elementary school where she taught.

Forty-five-year-old Susan Romanyszyn is out on bail after posting 10 percent of the one million dollar bail set for her.

She is accused of leaving more than a dozen threatening notes inside the school where she taught fourth grade.

Romanyszyn surrendered to authorities at 2:00 Thursday afternoon. She is charged with 17 counts of making terroristic threats. Those charges are felonies.

Prosecutors say she left child-like cartoons and messages throughout Longstreth Elementary School. The incidents happened during one week last October.

We're told the teacher's threats escalated, culminating with nails left in a school parking lot. Police say she also stashed a plastic bottle meant to look like an explosive device inside the school. A fifth-grader found the bottle.

Police said Romanyszyn was disgruntled over the fact that she had been assigned to teach fourth grade and not fifth grade.

"This was a woman who was entrusted with teaching students and providing a safe environment for these students and instead, as it turns out, she actually put a great deal of fear in the community, in the school, and students at this school," said Michelle Henry, Bucks County District Attorney.

Her attorney, Sara Webster, rejected the charges against her client Thursday night.

"In a case like this, you go on a person's character, and the character of this woman is out there for inspection," 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 denied in an Oct. 22 interview with police that she had anything to do with the incidents, according to court records. She also denied that she was unhappy about not having been given a fifth-grade teaching position, according to the court document.

Romanyszyn was arrested after authorities interviewed students, administrators and teachers and reviewed footage from the school surveillance cameras, Murphy said.

Romanyszyn was a middle school teacher at Eugene Klinger Middle School for seven years. While there, she was one of two elementary mathematics teachers selected in 2004 as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

"I love to watch the kids learn, realize how much they already know, and put it to a practical use," Romanyszyn told an interviewer at the time. "It's fun to see that spark, and no matter what they go into, that higher learning and ability to process information will help them."

Romanyszyn taught kindergarten for two years at Longstreth and had been a fourth-grade teacher there for just over a month before the first threatening message was found.

Some information from The Associated Press.