School bomb threats out of hand

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April 11, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Parents and teachers agree that bomb threats are out of control. Now there's a new plan to try to stop them in Richmond County.

With statewide CRCT exams coming up next week, administrators say they're expecting more fake threats. But this time they've got plans A, B and C already in place.

"Apathy is setting in," said Coach William Bishop of Morgan Road Middle School. "The cry wolf syndrome."

Coach Bishop says the school has had at least 30 fake threats this year, compared to just two last year. County-wide, the last tally is at 103.

"Initially we thought it's kids wanting to get out of assignments and tests, but now we have no clue why there's so many," Coach Bishop said.

So far it's cost Morgan Road Middle School at least 60 hours in class time.

It's also costing money. Bishop says he's heard estimates between $5,000 and 8,000 every time deputies, EMS, and bomb sniffing dogs check out a bomb threat.

It's why he's proposing a new plan for the board to try to diffuse the problem.

One of the suggestions is to slap the parents with the hefty bill. And the parents we talked to say they don't think it's such a bad idea.

"I take it very seriously," one parent, Miguel, told News 12. "You never know when it can happen."

Another idea is to use students on each other by offering them a cash reward to tell administrators who's pulling the prank.

But some say that could go both ways.

"If they tried to offer them money, they might just keep calling threats in so other kids can get the money," Coach Bishop said.

This is just a proposal at this time. At last night's school board meeting, they did pass a motion to get together with EMS and the sheriff's office to try to resolve the problem.

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