Losing Education to Bomb Threats.
Bomb threats occurring in schools has dramatically increased throughout the years in the Northwest Arkansas area. Threats made by students have occurred all over the United States; students residing in the NWA have adopted this trend as well. Bentonville High School received a bomb threat April 1st which consequently was April fool’s Day. Shortly after, Fayetteville followed with a threat on April 7th, Greenland on April 8th, Lincoln on April 15th, Gravette on April 16th, Rogers on April 22nd, Springdale, and Greenwood both on April 23rd. Bomb threats occurring in schools have gone back quite a bit: other schools include Decatur, Pea Ridge, Elkins, Huntsville, and West fork. This long list only leaves one school in the NWA school district with no public information of threats.
Most schools and law enforcement has dedicated their time to the overall process of what should be done when a bomb threat appears and the repercussion of a threat , but not much planning has gone into what should be done to limit the accusations of bomb threats. Arkansas has treated every threat made in schools seriously. The fact that a threat maybe a hoax plays no effect into the matter of a disruptive day, involving evacuations and many times, the dismissal of class. It is said that 90% of bomb threats turns out to be false and Arkansas has yet to face a dilemma with a discovery of a real bomb (Milkovich). They disrupt the ongoing operations of schools and forbids students from obtain learning lessons required for the day. In addition,
students involved in the making of a false threat end up losing their education privileges which adds to the significant loss of education in children. It is highly important that schools and parents decide on a positive reaction plan to these bomb threats and stop them before they occur. The purpose is to allow all students to receive the education they are entitled to, therefore keeping every student possible in school.
Most schools that capture the culprit of a bomb threat will turn to expulsion of that student, which does not solve the matter of keeping students in school. TeamChild as well as school administrators understand that schools sometimes need to dismiss students for safety reasons, but overall, removing them out of school permanently usually doesn't help students understand or resolve their problems (Shaw). This can then become an issue for the communities later. Katie Mosehauer works with community groups to address social issues states "’Exclusionary discipline ... has created a blind spot in our education structure…these kids are being pushed out, they're not receiving education services, and there's no clear path for them to come back to school’" (qtd.in Shaw) Students who fail to complete high school tend to earn less and some do end up committing major crimes (Shaw). It is understandable that a high disciplinary action must go into effect for an act this dangerous, that’s why it is extremely important that bomb threats are treated before it actually occurs.
Schools are relying on stricter rules and enforcing high security in schools in hopes that bomb threats will stop. There are currently no reliable statistics that support the efficiency of drastic punishments relating to a zero tolerance school environment (Greame 33). The solution of an immediate and inflexible punishment for minor acts can create a very tense environment for students, provoking them to resort to more violence. “This may in fact increase the overall level of aggressiveness in schools” (Greame 33). The consequences of a zero tolerance environment may cause students to develop an irreversible distrust in faculty and principle; they may begin to experience a sense of alienation, and eventually students begin to fall behind in their school work. “Once these negative feelings start to spiral, researchers affirm dropping out is usually the next choice students make” (Fanion). The department of justice discovered research that suggests the involvement of police in the daily lives of students signal an over dependence on police intervention, which causes more of a rise in student disruption (Greame 32). In this case, we are losing students who have no affiliation with bomb threats by implementing a zero tolerance environment for them and making them feel insecure for threaten.
Schools and parents must become the ultimate hero in these scenarios by creating schools with a positive environment, free of violence and being involved in their daily life of school. Key Sun, a counselor with the state department of corrections suggests that students make these threats as a “’way to feel power’”; a motive of vengeance or retaliating against a teacher (qtd.in McNamara). He feels that the common perception of students making a threat to get a day off from school is not accurate and that there are “’too many other issues at play’” (qtd.in McNamara). The department of justice states teaching peer mediation and conflict resolution skills to students and establishing tip lines to report threats and suspicious behavior anonymously is a more delicate and effective approach(Greame 25). Programs directing at “anger management, adolescent positive choices, conflict resolution, classroom behavior management, and anti-bullying programs” (Greame 27). Schools should require Parents to be involved in their children’s academic performance. Parents should come to a variety of services and recreational activities in which the school provides (Greame 28-29). The Council of Economic Advisers reports “teenagers are most successful at meeting today’s challenges if they have close bonds with their parents. Young people are most likely to avoid dangerous or destructive behavior when they are closer to their parents” (Council of Academic Advisors 4).
Most importantly, schools need to communicate to their students the rules of acceptable behavior, and organize an anti-bomb threat program that educates students and teachers on the psychological, social, and economic destruction caused by bomb threats (Greame 26). The discussion of violent threats should be shared with parents and students after a threat has been made, and students should taught to understand what exactly has gone wrong and why it should not occur again. After conducting interviews with two seniors attending high schools with previous bomb threats, both specified that their school did not discuss the issues of bomb threats before or after they were made. Mecee stated, “Even after we were evacuated, we didn’t know what was going on because none of the teachers told us anything”. Eric was asked what his school was doing to minimize further threats, he stated “I don’t think they have any plans, but they know that the police will take good care of it”. This proves that students are not being educated about bomb threats.
There are some residents who believe that educating children about threats will actually give them unnecessary information provoking them to create more havoc, but I strongly disagree. I can understand this statement to an extent, but I truly believe that a student will less likely choose to do something wrong if they are aware of the consequences and how these choices affect not only their family and friends, but their future as well. This is not promoting or giving ideas to students so they can create more chaos, its stressing the reminding them that these actions have real consequences. Schools can hold assemblies with qualified speakers or educate teachers in talking about these issues positively and effectively with their students. Only when students fully understand the extent of these issues can they start evaluating the importance of their time spent in school.
Bomb threats has become so significant that more and more students are putting their future and their peers at risk by performing these illegal acts. They are restricting themselves from acceptance into college and the possibility of future jobs without even knowing it. The most common presentation of bomb threats in school is a note on the bathroom wall or a simple phone call of a bomb. These threats take little effort and students are taking advantage of it because they are unaware of how highly it effects their lives, just not in the moment, but for many years to come. The effects of bomb threats effects other students by altering their environment at school and interfering with class time. It is not too late to save what students we have left from making this mistake. The key goal is to stop these threats from occurring, not stopping them when they’ve already happened. It is for the sake these kids future, which consequently is ours as well.
Council of Economic Advisers. “Teens and Their Parents in the 21st Century: An Examination
of Trends in Teen Behavior and the Role of Parental Involvement.” Washington DC: National Inst. of Child Health and Human Development, 2000. Web. 20 April 2014
McNamara, Neal. “Behind the bomb threats: Felony mischief lingers in Federal Way schools.”
FederalWayMirror.com, Federal Way Mirror, 10 December 2010. Web. 20 April 2014.
Milkovich, Marie. “Managing Bomb Threats For School Administrators.” AAETS.org.
American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, 2012. Web. 20 April 2014.
Newman, Greame. “Bomb Threats in Schools”. N.p.: Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, Inc,
Shaw, Linda. “Are expelled students more likely to drop out?” SeattleTimes.com. Seattle Times,
10 December 2012. Web. 20 April 2014.
Tucker, Randy. “Better security may not make schools safer.” TheDailyWorld.com. Stephens
Media Group, 9 January 2013. Web. 20 April 2014.