Proposed Bill Would Hold Perpetrator Accountable To Pay For School Threat Costs
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Emergency response to a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of Jordan High School in January cost $13,000, according to Canyon School District. This figure includes the cost of paying police, fire and also bus drivers when the district activated its emergency protocol.
So who picks up the bill? The school district.
“It is a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Jeff Haney, Canyons School District Spokesperson said. “Think about the cost of salaries, think about the buses we had to bring in to take the kids to another location, all of the district staff that have to respond to it.”
— Ashley Moser (@AshleyMoser) March 7, 2019
Haney said school districts are responding to threats against schools on a weekly basis and costs are mounting.
“That’s the reason why we think that House Bill 476 is something we should be supporting,” Haney said. “We certainly hope it is a deterrent. If they can see that they can face a very serious legal repercussion and a financial one then perhaps people will think twice about making a threat.”
Representative Andrew Stoddard said House Bill 476 would make a threat against a school, including preschools, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, a third-degree felony.
This would also give prosecutors a way to hold the perpetrator accountable for financial cost to school districts.
“When it comes to criminal penalties for threats against schools, there is not a clear way to prosecute those types of crimes,” Rep. Stoddard said. “This bill addresses very narrowly schools and someone who has the intent to disrupt the school.”
Since the bill was introduced late in this legislative session, Rep. Stoddard said he was prepared to reintroduce it next session if it does not get a hearing.
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