Bomb threats made at high schools have consequences

MILWAUKEE -- Following a series of bomb threats at area high schools in recent weeks -- including two separate incidents on Tuesday (one in Racine and another in Grafton), school leaders are stressing that there are consequences for students who make these threats. Officials say bomb threats are disruptive, and practical joke or not, the threats cost money and haunt some students for the rest of their lives.

"You might be creating a situation where you think it's a day off of school and it is the appropriate thing to do. That's not the way it's going to end up," Franklin School District. Superintendent Dr. Steve Patz said.

Dr. Patz says his district knows all too well what schools like Greendale, Racine Park and Grafton are dealing with.

A 17-year-old Greendale student was charged with disorderly conduct Monday, October 1st for a bomb threat that disrupted Greendale High School's Homecoming activities.

On Tuesday, a 14-year-old student from Racine Park High School was apprehended for recklessly endangering safety and possession of explosive materials, after a suspicious device was found in the high school.

Also on Tuesday, officials investigated a bomb threat scrawled on a bathroom stall at Grafton High School -- leading to an evacuation of the school and disruption or complete cancellation of the school day.

"I don't think kids look at how much of an impact it has across an entire district. We have a lot of employees -- like our food service employees, transportation -- all of a sudden they're missing a day's work," Dr. Patz said.

That happened in March 2011 when a message was found on a bathroom stall at Franklin High School indicating a bomb would go off.

Dr. Patz says making a bomb threat can have long-term implications for students who may only be considering short-term gains.

"It's the kind of thing that will go with you in terms of employment purposes, and it's just not worth it," Dr. Patz said.

Following Franklin's bomb threat, 17-year-old Ross Menken was arrested and charged with a felony.

"Unfortunately, too many school districts are put in those positions too often. It's one of those things that you just don't have an answer to in terms of how to deal with it because you never know what kind of a student would do something like that and what their thinking is," Dr. Patz said.

Franklin was one of four schools that dealt with bomb threats between March 2nd and April 3rd.

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