The Winlock High School was faced with a bomb threat this week.
The Winlock High School had a few bomb threats last year and this year seems to have started off with the same problem. What many don't seem to realize is, there are consequences for these types of actions.
The Revised Codes of Washington (RCWs) are very clear, it is a felony to use the threat of a bomb.
First, RCW 9.61.160
Threats to bomb or injure property--Penalty.
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to threaten to bomb or otherwise injure any public or private school building, any place of worship or public assembly, any governmental property, or any other building, common carrier, or structure, or any place used for human occupancy; or to communicate or repeat any information concerning such a threatened bombing or injury, knowing such information to be false and with intent to alarm the person or persons to who the information is communicated or repeated.
(2) It shall not be a defense to any prosecution under this section that the threatened bombing or injury was a hoax.
(3) A violation of this section is a class B felony punishable according to chapter 9A.20 RCW.
If the school must cancel activities then it falls under a different RCW.
Disturbing school, school activities or meetings--Penalty.
Any person who shall willfully create a disturbance on school premises during school hours or at school activities or school meetings shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, the penalty for which shall be a fine in any sum not more than fifty dollars.
There are many more RCW's that can apply if a student decided to use this tactic.
Bruce Kinsey, Lewis County Chief Deputy for the Sheriff's Office stated, "In our world today, making threatening statements of hurting a person is totally unacceptable. Bomb threats are serious crimes and can never be viewed as a joke or hoax. Often suspects inform us they intended their actions as a joke, which is not a defense, nor is it acceptable due to the fear and disruption these threats can cause."
Garry Cameron, Superintendent of Winlock School District stated the following when asked why students have been using bomb threats. "Our school district is committed to the safety and education of all our students," he said. "We don't always know the reasons behind the threats. When safety issues arise, our staff take swift, appropriate action to keep our students safe. We are hoping the investigations being conducted by law enforcement and the District will shed some light on this question. It is difficult to say why, to answer that question at this juncture would be speculative at best."
It is important to understand there are solutions, Cameron stated, "Building a relationship with each Winlock student is an important part of the solution. We need to have a renewed focus on helping students understand the implication of this behavior. Students will be encouraged to follow the maxim, 'If you see something, say something.' Additionally, District staff will increase our vigilance in the buildings, and spend time reviewing the handbook with all students. Finally, there will be appropriate consequences for the individuals who have committed such acts at Winlock HS/MS."
He continued, "Some tips for families are: Reassure your children they are safe. Remind them that there is a difference between reporting, tattling, or gossiping. Let your child know that you take threats seriously and that there are consequences for threatening behavior."
This is not just a school problem, it affects parents, teachers and everyone in the community. Please help Winlock students remain safe this year, talk to your student about the consequences. Also, it's time to have that chat... It's not tattling if it is keeping the rest of the students safe.