Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 11, 2013

Teens involved in bomb threat sentenced to boot camp

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

NEWTON — The three students involved in November's Newton Community High School bomb threat won't be facing prosecution for the time being.

Dominick Baker, Harley Webb and Dakota Boyd will be spending six months in Lincoln's Challenge Academy in Rantoul, a boot camp-style program that helps at-risk youth receive their GED.

"We'll dismiss the case without prejudice," said Jasper County State's Attorney Kevin Parker. "The agreement is each of them would, and they have, enroll in a program called Lincoln's Challenge Academy. It's for 16- to 18-year-old at-risk youth."

Parker said the program not only helps teenagers receive their GED, but also can shape the individuals who go through the program.

"It's a military-style boot camp," he said. "It's very structured as far as physical things. They have to pursue and graduate with their GED and they learn all sorts of life skills. It's a six-month program, at least initially, but the program goes on beyond that as far as the life skills that they've taught them. And if they successfully graduate from this program, we agree not to pursue any further prosecution."

Baker, Boyd and Webb entered their orientation for the program Thursday.

Parker said he has seen success in the program before and it can do more good for those affected by it than a stint in jail or frequent court appearances could ever do.

"I believe that with juveniles involved in a serious manner, this program can be far more effective in essentially changing their life path than simply coming to court and we had two others just recently graduate from the program. Neither of these three had any substantial previous histories."

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.