SHS plagued by bomb threats

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, October 16, 2010

Staff Writer

Southside High School received four separate bomb threats on four consecutive days beginning Tuesday and ending Friday, according to Sarah Hodges, public information officer at Beaufort County Schools.
The incidents are under investigation by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed Capt. Kenneth Watson with the sheriff’s office.
Watson described the threats as “a hoax,” but had no other immediate information.
Hodges declined to give specific information about the threats due to the nature of the criminal investigation.
She did, however, say that the school system had “no choice but to treat each incident as an actual threat,” which meant the evacuation of the school’s 463 students and its faculty and staff following each threat.
She said this resulted in “a tremendous disruption to the educational day.”
Hodges also praised the faculty and staff at Southside, saying they had “done a very professional job” and handled each incident according to procedure.
She also encouraged parents of Southside students to talk to their children about these incidents and said anyone with information about them “should feel comfortable to come forward. They can speak with school administrators, any Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office personnel or they can call Crimestoppers at 974-6400.
Bomb threats:
fact sheet on state law
• Provides that any person who communicates a false bomb threat or perpetrates a hoax is guilty of a Class H felony. Increases the criminal penalty for making second or subsequent bomb threats or perpetrating hoaxes within five years of first offense to a Class G felony. Allows the court to order the person convicted under this section to pay restitution for interruption of daily activity that would have otherwise occurred on premises but for the false report or hoax.
• Includes using a computer to report a false bomb threat as making a false report.
• Makes it a Class G felony for any person who possesses or carries or encourages a minor to possess or carry onto educational property or to a curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school any dynamite cartridge, bomb, grenade, mine, or powerful explosive (excluding fireworks).
• Requires N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to revoke the permit or license of any person upon receiving record of the person’s conviction of making a false bomb threat, perpetrating a hoax, possessing or carrying a dynamite cartridge, bomb, grenade, mine, or powerful explosive, or aiding a minor to possess the above on educational property.
• Adds that a parent or individual legal guardian who has care, custody, and control of an unemancipated minor may be held civilly liable to an educational entity for the negligent supervision of a minor if: the educational entity proves the minor committed a felony offense involving injury to persons or property through use of a gun, rifle, pistol, or other firearm on educational property, the parent or individual guardian knew or reasonably should have known of the minor’s likelihood to commit such an act and had the opportunity to control the minor, but made no reasonable effort to correct, restrain, or properly supervise the minor.
• Allows the educational entity to recover up to $25,000 for damages resulting from a false threat or hoax from parents or individual legal guardian convicted of the above and up to $50,000 for damages resulting from a discharged firearm or detonation or explosion of a bomb or other explosive device.
• Provides for the suspension for 365 calendar days any student who makes a false bomb threat or perpetrates a hoax which can be modified on a case-by-case basis by the local school board upon recommendation by the superintendent.
• Requires the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee to examine the issue of students who threaten to commit or who carry out acts of violence directed at schools and those in schools.
If you have information about threats to schools or your classmates, please contact local police or sheriff’s departments or the State Bureau of Investigation’s Operations Center at 1-800-334-3000.
Information provided by Sarah Hodges, Beaufort County Schools