Bomb threats disrupt school

Published 10:13 pm Friday, May 31, 2013

Northside High School faculty, staff and students have spent a significant amount of time outdoors because of three bomb threats in two weeks.
“It creates such havoc,” Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps said of the threats — all false claims.
“We put them (faculty, students and staff) in staging areas until the school is searched. Students are out of classrooms. It interrupts lunch. Emergency responders have to come in, and they’re basically tied up for a couple of hours,” Phipps said.
The threats came during two consecutive days this week and once about 10 days ago. Phipps said each threat is taken seriously. He drove out to the campus and law-enforcement officials thoroughly searched the grounds after each threat.
Because the incidents are under investigation, Phipps would not specify how the threats were received. He said the school would be looking at deterrents like additional monitoring of populated areas and the use of video surveillance.
The school was evacuated with each threat. Parents were notified that the evacuations were because of communicated or perceived threats and called again once the bomb threats were proven to be hoaxes.
Phipps said students have grown tired of the evacuations, sitting in the hot sun on school bleachers and missing lunches.
“My son is at Northside, and he asked me the other day, ‘Why do students do this?” Phipps said.
Schools see a lot of similar incidents at the end of the school year, he said. So far, the bomb threats have targeted Northside only.
Students have been encouraged to share any information they may have about who is behind the threats. If the threats are traced to a student, the student and his or her parents would be responsible for the expenses associated with responding to each threat and could face criminal charges.
Maj. Kenneth Watson with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said bomb threats could result in felony charges.
“Anyone, including students older than 6 years old, involved in a bomb threat at a school in North Carolina could possibly be charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property, Class H felony; making a false report concerning destructive device, a Class H Felony; and/or disorderly conduct by disrupting students, a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Anyone with information about the bomb threats is asked to call or send a text message to Campus Crime Stoppers at 974-6400.