The folks over at Central Office for Bladen County Schools and the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office had a pretty cozy relationship during the month of January — not necessarily of their own choosing, of course.
Between Jan. 18 and Jan. 24, a handful of threats against two Bladen County Schools — West Bladen High and Bladenboro Middle — were made through social media by teenagers.
School and district officials wasted no time in notifying law enforcement, which proved fruitful and resulted in the arrest of five teens, each of whom were charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property.
These five teens are now in the process of learning a very tough lesson about pranks. As many teens before them have found out over the years, there is a huge difference between prank phone calls asking if a refrigerator is running and pulling a fire alarm — one is juvenile humor, the other is a serious crime.
And we will go one step further. Not only should these five students learn a very hard lesson, but their parents and/or guardians should as well. If ever there were a time when parents and guardians should be held accountable for the actions of their children — as it once was when society demanded such action — this is that time.
On the flip side, we commend those students who came forward and told their parents about a message they received that was threatening to the schools — as well as those responsible parents who immediately contacted school officials. Each deserve our kudos.
In the meantime, we stand appreciative for the swift and thorough action by both Bladen County Schools and Sheriff’s Office.
Despite these five students “crying wolf,” it’s good to know that our school officials and law enforcement officials take these things seriously regardless of their source.
Now, these teens will be facing conviction for a felony — one that will follow them for the rest of their lives — and could spend time in jail as well as pay a hefty fine. More than likely, each will be given something far less, but we hope the message is delivered loud and clear.
One more round of applause is due the school district and West Bladen High, which held a school-wide assembly last week to discuss, among other things, the recent threats made against the school — including the seriousness of those threats and the intolerance those kinds of threats will be met with.
It might not be a bad idea to incorporate such an assembly at the start of every school year.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Before you make a final decision, really think about what you’re doing and ask yourself … is it worth it?” (Unknown)