Bomb threats are taken very seriously

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 25, 2017

We live in an age when there are “crazy” people all over the world threatening the lives of other individuals on a daily basis. So when the lives of our students are threatened with a bomb threat, we take that matter just as seriously as the first responders who rush to the scene to make sure the buildings and area are secure.

As a newspaper, we often are criticized for reporting on such an occurrence from the general public since it may “encourage” more prank calls.

It’s a tough call we take very seriously, but one we feel must be reported upon and often times is already known about on social media before we even report about it on our website or in the next day’s paper.

More than likely, of course, the called-in threats this week at Vicksburg and Warren Central high schools were the pranks of an individual or individuals who thought it was “funny” to cause such a disruption. But they don’t take into consideration all of the law enforcement and fire personnel who have to respond to such a call when they could be responding to a real emergency where lives truly are in danger.

That hoax, however, can have real consequences for the individual who calls in the threat.

Because of technology, it is more likely the individual will be identified.

Federal officials can charge anyone who calls or emails in a bomb threat, and that person could face up to 10 years in prison.

In some states, a conviction under a state or federal charge for making a school bomb threat can also:

• Get a student’s drivers license or learner’s permit revoked,

• Make parents liable for their child’s actions in civil court, and

• Result in an automatic suspension from public school.

And children under 18 are not immune from criminal punishment. Most states allow juveniles to be tried as adults for serious crimes, depending on the discretion of the prosecutor and/or judge.

Hoax or not, bomb threats are serious and we hope you now understand a little more on why we report on them.