The Greenwood Police Department has made an arrest for a bomb threat discovered last Thursday at Greenwood’s East Hills Middle School. Police arrested a female 7th grade student of the school after a confession was obtained detailing her involvement in the threat. The student was arrested for Communicating a False Alarm, a Class D felony, and was transported to the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Center late Thursday morning.
Captain Richie Wolford stated, "We take threats of this nature very seriously. The safety of our school children, faculty, and staff are of utmost importance to us. With the assistance of school administrators, investigators were able to identify a suspect, conduct an interrogation, and make this arrest. I can’t stress enough how having a good working relationship with the school administration aided in this investigation."
The Greenwood School District has several policies that address this issue. Policy 4.18 states, "No student shall by the use of violence, force, noise, coercion, threat, intimidation, fear, passive resistance, or another other conduct, intentionally cause the disruption of any function of the school." Policy 4.19 further expands this by stating, "A student shall not threaten, physically abuse, or attempt to physically abuse, or behave in such a way as to be perceived to threaten bodily harm to any other person (student, employee, or school visitor). An gestures, vulgar, abusive or insulting language, taunting, threatening, harassing, or intimidating remarks by a student toward another person that threatens their well-being is strictly forbidden… . .Students guilty of such an offense may be subject to legal proceedings in addition to student disciplinary measures."
John Ciesla, Superintendent of the Greenwood School District added, "Threats of violence are taken seriously by this administration. We live in a time where every threat has to be handled as a viable and valid intent to harm. This is unfortunate, but necessary due to events throughout the nation that have harmed many children. "
He went on to ask parents to talk to their children about the dangers of this kind of threat. "It is important for parents and students to communicate about what goes on in their child’s life. Parents need to be in touch with their kids and discuss what is appropriate socially as well as legally."
Greenwood Schools have several programs in place to help identify children with problems that might lead to serious problems. "Response to a threat is only one part of our job, "Suzy Wilson, Director of PK-7 Education, explained. "The most important part is working to increase character education, identify children with mental health issues, and deliver early intervention such as counseling, school-based mental health, and social skills groups to these students."
"The Leader in Me program is being implemented in our elementary schools, where an emphasis is placed on finding something valuable in each child and giving them an avenue to display their skills to the school community. It is our hope that if children know they are valued and accepted, they will not resort to attention getting threats, or even more serious acts, such as lashing out at society."