I had not thought much about bomb threats against schools until a few weeks ago we had one in Toombs County (Vidalia actually). Apparently, it is a bigger problem than many of us might realize. So big, in fact, that Senator Ed Tarver (D-22, Richmond) has sponsored a bill introduced a couple of weeks ago dealing specifically with kids who make bomb threats against schools. And if you think that’s something, this bill, SB-521, also seeks to hold the parents accountable and responsible for the costs associated with dealing with such threats.
According to Senator Tarver, it can cost local schools anywhere from $2,500 to several times as much in having to deal with bomb threats. These costs come out of limited educational funds. I was concerned about the idea that parents were responsible for this cost, but Senator Tarver says the intent is to recover the costs from parents who have repeatedly refused to deal with a problem (their child). Sounds like it has some constitutional due process problems to me.
As for the kids, all of this is still handled in juvenile court, but the twist is that if the juvenile is found to be deprived, they can lose their driver’s license until age 21.
I certainly don’t want to appear soft on people who make bomb threats, but I must admit that I was somewhat surprised that this legislation is sponsored by a Democrat. Why? I don’t know, but I guess it is because it seems to focus on punishment and collecting money from people who probably can’t afford to pay it, rather than doing anything to help a kid before he gets to the point of making a bomb threat. I must admit that Senator Tarver shocked me when he said that a lot of these threats come kids in middle school, 7th to 9th grades.
He indicated that this legislation probably would not pass this year, but it will get the issue ready to pursue next year.
At the end of the interview, I asked Senator Tarver if there was any particular accomplishment in the legislature this year that he was proud of. His response, an additional $70 million in funding for trauma centers in the State. That sounds like a good thing to me to!