'Bomb threats' much more than simple pranks
Put up with another day at school or risk felony charges for calling in a bomb threat.
The choice is simple, right?
Unfortunately, in the mind of a teenager, not always.
Mount Carmel Township Police charged a 17-year-old girl Wednesday with three felonies, plus misdemeanor offenses, in relation to a bomb threat called into Mount Carmel Area School District Tuesday morning.
Once considered by some as an innocent "prank," a bomb threat in the post-9/11 era is serious business. School and law enforcement authorities, as well as emergency responders, simply have no choice but to take the threat seriously and follow a detailed protocol in their response, staring with evacuating the school and typically canceling classes for the day. As MCA Superintendent Bernie Stellar said in reaction to Wednesday's arrest, a bomb threat is a "dangerous, costly and disruptive situation." School officials risk potential disaster in ignoring such a threat; however, God forbid the time comes when someone isn't simply crying wolf.
But being that kids will be kids, the burden - as it usually does - falls on the parents. There is a long list of topics that need to be discussed in the family, the danger of drug use likely at the top, but a few minutes to point out how a prank such as a bomb threat - especially to a school - can land a young person behind bars is worthy of some time, too. Without such guidance, most 17-year-olds have no concept of the far-reaching impact of such "fun," and figure they can easily hide behind technology when, in fact, it is technology that helps authorities flush out the culprits.
In the MCA case, the student got her wish. She didn't have to go to school Tuesday. Seems she'll be missing many more days, too, however, learning the hard way that the alternative is much worse.