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Editorial: Bomb threats were no joke

  • Ridgeland-Hardeeville High students stand outside the school last Wednesday morning after a bomb threat. The school was given an all-clear around noon.

Law enforcement racing to schools. Bomb-sniffing dogs. Children and staff evacuated.

Parents wondering if their children are safe.

We had three unsettling days last week when bomb threats were called into the Jasper County School District’s Ridgeland and Hardeeville campuses.

The threats brought in K-9 units, local police and assistance from the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort and Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

Thankfully, each incident was investigated thoroughly and no explosives were found.

The phone calls were apparently intended to interrupt classes; prank calls designed to get students outside and waste several hours of valuable class time.

Not funny.

The threats are not a joke. Not only did they disturb class, but law enforcement was occupied when serious incidents could have been unfolding.

And parents who were at work were left uncertain for hours, understandably worrying for their child’s safety, relying on phone call updates or following news reports.

There were certainly scary moments.

Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward said about 20 officers from several agencies were at Hardeeville’s campus for hours last Thursday, which left them stretched thin.

“I take it very seriously; it’s a concern,” Woodward said. “I get upset when children do things that waste taxpayers’ money.”

We applaud Woodward and his staff for tracking the phone number that pointed to three teenagers he believes were involved in the calls to the Hardeeville campus. Within hours after the threat, the juveniles were identified and face charges.

We truly hope the threat of charges deters future threats.

“This needs to stop,” Woodward said.

We are encouraged by the smarts of students at Ridgeland’s campus. Jasper County Sheriff Chris Malphrus said last week two people were being questioned in connection to the Ridgeland threats thanks in part to students who overheard one classmate bragging about making the calls.

The students alerted administration, and the sheriff’s office acted on the tip.

We thank those who didn’t keep quiet and instead did what was right.

Bomb threats are serious and will always be taken seriously. We hope anybody thinking about making fake threats genuinely understands how many people are affected, especially those parents nervously waiting for any bit of information. It’s not funny. It’s not worth bragging about. It’s senseless.

Hopefully this is the end.

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