Fort Ham teacher charged with terror talk

April 8, 2011 Heather Chin
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It’s been a very bad month forFort Hamilton High School.</p

Just three weeks after a 16-year-old student was arrested forpouring diluted hydrochloric acid on her 15-year-old classmate inan attempt to burn her eyes out, a veteran art teacher allegedlythreatened to bring a machine gun to school under a trench coat,stating that she wanted to settle some scores and it would beColumbine all over again, a reference to the infamous 1999 schoolshooting near Denver, Colorado.</p

Sabrina Milo was arrested three days later, on Friday, April 1,after one of the three faculty members who were in the teacher’slounge at the time her alleged comments were made told theprincipal, Jo Ann Chester. The principal is said to have thencalled police, who arrived at the school at 8301 Shore Road justbefore 1 p.m. and escorted Milo out of her art classroom inhandcuffs.</p

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Milo, who has been teaching at the school since 2001, is chargedwith making terroristic threats, a state crime. If convicted, shefaces up to seven years in prison. She was arraigned on Sunday andis currently free on $100,000 bail. The Department of Education(DOE) has temporarily reassigned her to administrativeduties.</p

The 34-year-old teacher’s arrest shocked the school community andhas sparked division between students, faculty and parents overwhether or not Milo’s threats were serious or simply the commentsof a stressed-out teacher with an offbeat sense of humor.</p

Students created a support page for the popular art teacher onsocial networking site, Facebook, and are planning a walk-out for 1p.m. this Friday, April 8 – precisely one week after Milo wasarrested.</p

She likes to joke around a lot. No one takes what she saysseriously, said junior Gehad Elsayet, who took Milo’s class fortwo weeks at the beginning of the semester and considers her amentor. If anyone gave her a weapon, I don’t think she’d even knowhow to use it. A lot of people are talking about her and theydidn’t even know her. Why would you do that? It’s already bad forher, now you’re making it worse.</p

At her arraignment on Sunday, Milo’s lawyer, Andrew Stoll, statedthat his client is no threat to anybody and needs to bemedicated, not incarcerated.</p

Others feel that whether or not she meant it seriously, words arejust as powerful as actions, and invoking the word Columbine isnot something to take lightly.</p

I personally have not had any interactions with the teacher, butmy son had her as an art teacher. From what we’ve heard, she hadnever given any indication she would say or do anything like this,said Sandy Vallas, first vice president of the Fort Hamilton HighSchool PTA. [But] obviously when a comment like that is made,we’re concerned. As a parent, the only lesson that we can all learnfrom this whether you’re a parent, teacher or student, everybody’sresponsible not only for their actions, but for what theysay.</p

This is not the first time Milo has gotten into trouble. The DOEpreviously reassigned Milo in May, 2010, for hitting a student onthe hand with a ruler. Other students had defended her, saying thatshe was aiming for their classmate’s cell phone. She returned toher position in September.</p

Both headline-grabbing incidents at Fort Hamilton had a Junior ROTCconnection. The two girls in the alleged acid-throwing incidentwere members of the group. Milo’s husband, Lee Anderson, foundedthe Fort Hamilton unit in 1993</p

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