Valdosta Daily Times

April 25, 2013

False alarm; real consequences


The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — There’s nothing new about people making false bomb threats to schools and teens pulling fire alarms to get out of class. These things have been happening for generations. They seem to return each year, especially in spring as school shifts into the final weeks before summer break.

While many students, and even some adults, may view such activities as pranks, school officials and law-enforcement authorities take these matters seriously. Especially in the wake of mass shootings and fatal bombings.

Law-enforcement and firefighters have never treated such matters lightly. They may suspect the call is false, but they take the call seriously.

Take for example, the bomb threat made Wednesday at Valdosta High School. School officials evacuated the classrooms. Valdosta police officers responded and requested the assistance of Moody Air Force explosives experts. Moody sent three teams with bomb-sniffing dogs. These teams toured the school, detected no explosives, and gave the all-clear that students and faculty could return to class.

Authorities treated the 911 call claiming a bomb was inside the school as a viable threat, while the caller may have seen it as a harmless prank to get his friends out of afternoon classes.

Within a short time, Valdosta police had a suspect in custody. The suspect was not a VHS student. If he considered the call a prank, he faces real consequences for his alleged actions. Police have charged him with felony counts and sent him to the Lowndes County Jail.

Bomb threats and pulling fire alarms trigger serious responses, and for those caught making such threats or pulling alarms, they face serious repercussions.