They are always hoaxes, and always done by idiots trying to either get attention or have the day off. Evacuating the school is exactly what the hoaxers want. They want to cause disruption without really doing anything. Real attackers do not call ahead of time. Eventually people would give up on hoax threats, and this wouldn’t be an issue anymore. Sometimes colleges get a lot of threats around finals and decide to ignore them. No harm has ever come from this.
This reminds me of a story I heard when I was a child. Something about a boy and a wolf… what was that called again?
I think it was called “The Wolf That Wouldn’t Go Away.”
It’s not my job to decide what to do when a school receives a bomb threat and my kids don’t go to school anymore so I say ignore them.
Boy cries wolf, has a few laughs, I forget how it ends.
The townsmen were annoyed at being faked out one time too many so they killed the boy and made it look like a wolf did it.
School administrators don’t really live for the days they cold-call a bunch of parents and explain why little Johnny’s not coming home: “He’s in Heaven now.”
Are you ready to bet 500 or so lives on that every time?
I don’t know. If I were serious about trying to blow up a bunch of people, I don’t think I would warn them first.
“Hey you German bastards! We’re landing in Normandy tomorrow! Whatcha gonna do?”
I would say that bomb threats should be responded to internally, with officials sent in to sweep the area, but without cancelling school or making the claim public.
A good follow up question - has there EVER been a bomb threat that was called in and followed through with? It seems unlikely. Actually… now that I think of it, Weather Underground did that.
Well, let’s think of it this way.
On Day X, you don’t get a bomb threat. What are the odds you’re going to have a bomb go off in the school today?
On Day Y, you do get a bomb threat. What are the odds you’re going to have a bomb go off in the school today?
Yes, you could have a bomb go off on the day you get a bomb threat. But it seems to me that the odds are not substantially different. Saying that “well, what if the day you get a bomb threat is the day you had a bomb go off, how do you explain that to parents”? doesn’t address the question. What if you drive past a purple Cadillac on the way to school today, and then a bomb goes off. How do you explain to parents that you didn’t cancel school even though you saw a purple Cadillac?
Let’s distinguish between finding evidence that someone is planning on shooting up the school, or bringing a bomb to school, and an anonymous email threat. A message from Bobby saying he’s gonna kill everyone in school today is a credible threat. A message from an anonymous source that an unnamed person is going to kill everyone is not.
You have no choice but to bet children’s lives on it. No matter what your response, there’s always the possibility that that’s just the response the attackers were hoping for, and which will enable them to kill children. Send all the students home early? Maybe the attacker is waiting outside to kill them as they leave. Lockdown in place? Maybe the attacker is going to burn down the school, and wants to prevent effective fire evacuation. Viewed in this light, going about the school day as normal is the only safe option, because it’s the one thing you know the attackers didn’t intend: If that was there intent, then they would have just not called in the threat at all.
The fact that this is also the appropriate response to the far more common case that the threat is a hoax is icing on the cake.
Certain groups do - sometimes only for specific types of targets. I’m not sure how many such gentlemanly terrorist groups currently operate in the U.S.
Eta: and I can’t imagine a group that calls warnings in would choose a school in the first place.
The Weather Underground did, back in the more polite time of the late 1960s.
When’s the last time a school in the US actually got bombed? I’d say ignore them until something blows up, and make it official policy to ignore them and ensure that administrators cannot be punished for ignoring one
Would you say the same thing if someone threatened a school shooting, rather than a school bombing?
The schools should be evacuated. But making bomb threats of this sort needs to incur severe penalties.
By the way, why would a genuine terrorist attack first warn the victims?
Remember when Steve Martin in The Jerk had the job at the gas station? There was that insane guy who really hated cans – oil cans, soda cans, any kind of can.
Maybe some terrorist hates schools, but not school kids.
To avoid (or at least appear to care about avoiding) civilian casualties. Maybe that makes them less “genuine” terrorists in your mind, but some groups still want to garner/maintain general support for their position.
Eta: and even if it doesn’t maintain support, it doesn’t give the government as much leverage to go full Rambo on them in response.
Add the Irgun and the King David Hotel to the list.