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Lexington man pleads not guilty to making school threats

CONCORD — A group text that included references to the Columbine High School and Newtown elementary school massacres was intended to “mess” with the Lexington High School students who received it. Instead, it prompted the emergency closure of the school and the arrest of two people.

On Friday, Myles Fulton Penniman, 20, was barred from using the Internet and social media and from texting after he pleaded not guilty in Concord District Court to charges stemming from the case.

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In court papers, Lexington police said Penniman and an unidentified Belmont High School student sent out a group text Wednesday that included references to the two school massacres, as well as an anti-Semitic comment.

According to the police report, the messages included a photo of a student in a program for developmentally challenged students. The group texts mentioned going after students in that program first.

Police listed in the documents the text messages that prompted the emergency closure of the school.

“Did the Jews do Columbine Yup CYA”

“Tomorrow at 3 I thought”

“We are gonna kill the teachers at 3?”

“Lex High is in trouble” “U heard of [Newtown massacre suspect Adam] Lanza”

“Let’s Go for the Lab Kids first”

“I say when [sic] hit the cafe first and in the lib.’

“We are planning the shooting. Relax.’’

Penniman pleaded not guilty in court Friday to a charge of making a bomb threat and a charge of disrupting a school. At the request of Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office, bail was set at $5,000 cash for Penniman, who was placed on house arrest with GPS monitoring, prosecutors said.

According to the police report filed in court, Penniman admitted sending the messages along with the Belmont High School student, but only as a joke.

“It was supposed to be funny,’’ Penniman allegedly told police, according to the report.

Lexington police questioned the juvenile, who was accompanied by his father during questioning, and he admitted writing the text messages.

Like Penniman, he said, he composed the messages as a joke, but said he now knows it was a mistake.

“He stated that he took full responsibility for the messages and that he was truely [sic] sorry for writing them,’’ police wrote.

Penniman and the juvenile were arrested by Lexington police Thursday for making threats that authorities considered serious enough that they closed the high school around 1 p.m. Classes resumed Friday.

In a letter e-mailed to parents and guardians of Lexington High students, principal Laura Lasa said classes resumed without any difficulties on Friday.

“We have had an outstanding day here at the high school,’’ she wrote. “The teachers are reporting that students are calm, expressing a sense of safety, and asking appropriate questions.’’

Lasa wrote that at one point during the day, five students had sought out counselors for support. She said school officials would continue to be vigilant “in keeping an eye on student needs, and we will communicate immediately with parents/guardians if there are concerns.”

Lasa credited cooperation between school officials and Lexington police for a calm and swift response.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@ globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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