New details in school threats case

February 4, 2008 8:46:32 PM PST
Authorities have released new details about the arrest of a teacher at Longstreth Elementary School.

Forty-five-year-old Susan Romanyszyn was freed on bail after posting 10 percent of the one million dollar bail set for her last week.

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

Police have confirmed that surveillance video was crucial in their investigation in determining a suspect.

Officials said that they determined early on that a student was not responsible because students lacked access to the places where the threats were left.

"We in law enforcement were as much unnerved about this whole thing as anyone. We have officers in this community who have children in this school, so it was of deep concern for us that we make a most thorough investigation to determine that we had the right person," said Chief Michael Murphy of Warminster police.

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.

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 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.

The same school received telephone threats just last week, but at this point police are treating those threats as a separate case.

Some information from The Associated Press.