New plans to prevent false school bomb threats

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News 12 First at Five, January 30, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Richmond County school superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says he's sick of bomb threats and hopes new plans will prevent them.

He calls them a useless waste of resources.

"I don't think the public is fully aware of the significance of the issue," he said.

He released 911 tapes of some bomb threats, hoping that people will recognize some of the callers. He feels many of the calls are made by the same kids.

Another plan includes randomly searching schools. He says thirteen officers searched through buses at Glenn Hills Middle School Wednesday.

They found 10 to 15 cell phones and took them, because cell phones are not allowed in Richmond County Schools.

Dr. Bedden says all 20 bomb threat calls that came in during the month of January were placed using cell phones. He hopes by taking them, students won't have them to make bomb threats.

"It's just wrong and everybody in the community should stand up and say we're not gonna tolerate it," he said.

He also says he spoke with a state senator to try to get tougher legislation put in place. He says he wants students, as well as parents, held accountable for their actions.

Lt. Scott Peebles of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office says one to three officers respond to bomb threats, and an investigator is then assigned to the case.

The fire department also sends a truck with four firefighters as well as a fire chief.

Dr. Bedden says these are all a big waste.

"I consider it in the category of a terroristic threat and I take it very seriously. And we're gonna do everything in our power to get it under control," he said.

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