Deter School Bomb Threats

There is a reason the excuse “boys will be boys” was coined to explain misbehavior by juveniles. For a variety of reasons, many teenagers and even younger children seem determined to break as many rules as possible.

Sometimes they go too far. That has happened in the Union Local School District, where a series of bomb threats disrupted the education process on four days.

Bomb threats forced evacuation of schools on Nov. 19 and 20, then again this Monday and Tuesday. The last disruption occurred after school officials and law enforcement officers met with students at all three of the district’s schools, to explain the consequences of making false threats.

By Tuesday afternoon, two students had admitted their involvement in making the threats. The Belmont County Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate.

It will be up to school officials and the Belmont County prosecuting attorney’s office to decide what to do about the culprits. Criminal charges are possible.

Several factors, including the students’ ages, will have to be taken into account in determining what to do about them. Unfortunately for them, some sort of severe punishment is virtually guaranteed both because of the severity of what they did and the necessity of deterring similar crimes by others.

Merely slapping the boys on the wrists, figuratively speaking, would be an open invitation to other juveniles to commit similar crimes.

Ohio’s justice system takes into account the fact that immaturity, not undiluted evil intent, is responsible for some crimes by juveniles. In deciding how to punish those responsible for the Union Local bomb threats, that should be borne in mind by school and county officials. Especially if the culprits have clean records otherwise, care should be taken to avoid ruining their lives.

Again, however, some sort of severe – and very visible – punishment is necessary. Certainly, the welfare of the juveniles responsible for the bomb threats should be taken into account. So must the welfare of hundreds of other children in the Union Local School District, however.