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Meridian schools, law enforcement want help stopping school bomb threats

By By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Jan. 30, 2002
Meridian School Superintendent Janet McLin announced a $1,000 award Tuesday for information leading to the conviction of anyone making bomb threats at all public schools.
Flanked by school district Safety Director Sam Thompson, Police Chief Benny DuBose and Fire Chief Bunky Partridge, McLin encouraged anyone with information to call the school's CrimeStoppers.
So far this year, this city school district has received six bomb threats three at the high school and three at Kate Griffin Junior High. Threatening a school with a bomb is a felony punishable by a prison sentence of less than five years.
DuBose said state legislators could consider a proposal this year increasing the penalty for reporting false explosives or weapons of mass destruction in public and private places.
Meridian police arrested an adult about a month ago for calling in a bogus bomb threat at one of the city's schools. He is now out on bail. DuBose declined to discuss the investigation that led to the arrest.
The time used to evacuate schools and check them for bombs varies.
McLin said it would take more than an hour to evacuate the school and then check for a bomb. Now that the Meridian Fire Department has a bomb-sniffing dog, she said, search time is shorter.
To emphasize her concern about disrupted classes, McLin cited requirements that third- and seventh-graders must pass state tests to move to the next grade level and high school students must pass subject tests to graduate.
People with information about bomb threats in Meridian public schools should call the school district's CrimeStoppers at 484-4906.