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Why Bomb Threats Aren't The Answer

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It seems as though schools and institutions have been receiving high reports of bomb threats lately. It would careless to ignore the fact that most threats, of any degree, turn out to be shams. So why does this trend persist? There are numbers of reasons why students (or non-students) use this as a device for achieving something, however it is all about fear. Fear is the tool being utilized, more particularly, that fear is used to achieve time away from the classroom. The most popular theme seems to be a student who is so overwhelmed by an impending due date, or exam, that they make a fake bomb threat in order to have extra study time. With a near perfect zero percent success rate; if this is an action you plan to take—plan to get caught.

The former sentence should be noted as sarcastic. Why are bomb threats absolutely not the answer for when a student does not want to go to class? When a school (or any other institution) receives a bomb threat, the first step they take is to notify law enforcement. Whatever law enforcement notified, will subsequently further notify other forms of law enforcement, some of which include the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Department of Homeland Security. Still not convinced an FBI man-hunt on you is not worth an extra study day? Well, when those agencies receive the threat, they will employ extensive personnel immediately to determine the legitimacy of the threat, the clearance of the threatened institution, tracking down where the threat came from, etc… These processes easily cost the general public millions of dollars in one day, coming from the taxpayers money.

The penalties of making a bomb threat tend to reciprocate the cost of the offense, as with most legal punishments. State laws vary between tens of years in prison, and tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. However, you can always count on receiving a felony charge, which has serious implications on your status as a citizen in the United States. Furthermore, you can expect to face charges regarding terrorism—which are ridiculously unforgiving and costly. On a school level, expulsion is typically the result. Some of the penalties aside from lengthy prison sentences and giant financial bills, might include forfeiting the privilege to vote, forfeiting your driver’s license and putting those legally responsible for you (if you are a minor) at risk in court.

In my last year of Junior High School, the administration called off school for a week due to a bomb threat that had been made. As you might be able to guess, the threat was made by a student who was worried about an upcoming exam that he was not prepared for. More or less, after a week the whole situation resolved for everyone, except him. He faced both assault and terrorism charges, as well as a daunting fine. Given he was barely thirteen, he ended up walking out of court with no charges and enough community service for church congregation. However, this mistake has followed him around for years—and will continue to stain his future. Regardless of what the reasoning was, a kid in Junior High School scared of an exam, the consequences will typically reflect what the possible outcomes could have been, such as a terrorist attack.