LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – The arrest of a girl Wednesday was the latest in a series of bomb threats at Manheim Central High School.
Brett Hambright, a spokesman for the Lancaster County district attorney’s office, says the threats are no joke.
“We reject the term prank or joke because that’s not what it is,” he told ABC27 News.
This school year, Manheim Central High School has had six threats.
“In a bomb threat incident where you have an evacuation, a lockdown, an early dismissal, or anything that would disrupt the typical school day is a felony charge,” Hambright said. “That was the case in the Manheim Central School District.”
A few months ago, students at Ephrata High School were arrested for making threats.
Hambright said students who make threats often are forced to pay fines which can total in the thousands. He said often students with no prior records are sent to juvenile court where the focus is rehabilitation instead of punishment.
“They should know that if it’s a felony, it’s going to be on their record even though it’s a juvenile case,” Hambright said. “(When) they go to get a job, apply for school, it’s going to be there. It’s serious.”
Mental health experts have their own opinions.
Psychologist Dr. Jonathan Gransee told ABC27 News that some children make threats as pranks while some are acting out of aggression. He added that tough punishment can be the answer.
“There is a general conscientious that punishment does, at least in a significant amount of cases, affect somebody’s decision as to whether of not they’re going to do something,” he said.
Hambright said the district attorney’s office has pushed for tougher penalties.