Students should take reporting gun seriously

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Just like a bomb threat hoax, a false report of a gun on a school campus is a serious offense.

A middle school in Monticello was placed on lockdown Tuesday after authorities received a call of a possible gun on the campus. Rod Paige Middle School was placed on lockdown at about 11 a.m. when the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call. The Monticello Police Department also responded to the call at the fifth- through eighth-grade school.

No gun was found even though officials said a couple students reported seeing it. Maybe it was just a hoax. But authorities treated the situation like a real threat, as they should have. That meant multiple law enforcement officials responded to the scene, multiple searches of the school took place, classes were disrupted for the afternoon, and parents were likely terrified.

Anytime law enforcement resources are used to investigate what turns out to be a hoax, it’s a waste of time and taxpayers’ money. And it could result in charges.

Just a few days ago, a student in Jackson County was taken to a youth detention facility on the charge of falsely reporting a bomb or explosive. A student found a note in a bathroom stating a bomb would blow that day.

It’s unclear if the Monticello student will face charges, but officials said he wasn’t in school today and will have to go before the school board before returning.

If that’s the only discipline the student faces, it likely won’t be enough to discourage other students from doing something similar.