Former teacher of accused pen bomber speaks - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Former teacher of accused pen bomber speaks

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By Molly Grantham - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  A former teacher to an accused student bomber says she and other Charlotte-Mecklenburg School teachers saw warning signs about the student years ago. 

Jessie Bauguess's middle school teacher contacted us because she says the system failed him.

Police say 16-year-old Bauguess used acetone peroxide, a dangerous chemical terrorists have been known to use, to make an ink pen explode at Turning Point Academy in north Charlotte. 

A fellow classmate was hurt.  Three firefighters were also hurt when they came across large amounts of the chemical inside Bauguess's home on Mount Holly Road.

Tracy Bauguess, Jessie's mother, took off running once investigators arrived at her house.  Jessie's grandmother turned Tracy into police Wednesday morning.

"She's a hard-working single parent," said Elaine Cochran.  "She's trying to make a home for her kids and this whole thing just blowed up out of proportion."

Jessie Bauguess's 7th and 8th grade teacher at Coulwood Middle School tells WBTV that Jessie was always a sullen child.  She says he was a loner she tried to reach out to because he seemed so very empty inside.

One day she caught him scribbling chemical compounds in a notebook.

"I saw what he was writing was a list of ingredients of how to build a bomb," she said.  "He so much as told me that."

This teacher, who didn't want to be identified, wrote him up.  She says she went through the proper channels with school administrators in alerting the right people.  She filled out a referral. 

Ultimately, administrators never told her what punishment he ended up facing.  She only knows he was back in her class soon after the incident.

"I think several of us had a sense all along, even from teaching him three years ago, that something like this could happen," she said. 

"To see him on the news, I was devastated.  He was not a discipline problem in class and those are the ones that you worry about sometimes because those are the ones who slip through the cracks and that's what I really believe about Jessie, is that we let him down.  The fact this did not get more attention… that the intervention didn't come at a time when obviously we could see there was a real danger.  He really needed help.  I just feel really that the school failed him."

WBTV also spoke with another former Coulwood Middle School teacher who said Jessie told her he figured a bomb could easily be put in the boiler room... because the boiler room was always unlocked.

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