Parents could be billed for police response to school threats

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When it comes to school threats, police in central Ohio say there is no more joking about violence in a school setting.

That’s the message from Deputy Chief Eric Grile of Hilliard Police. He sat down with CrimeTracker 10 to talk about the important conversation parents need to have with their children before the start of school.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s two in the afternoon or 10 at night, a police officer is going to come to your door,” Grile said. “Anyone who posts anything online, anyone who post anything in a text message or chat group is subject to us learning about that and investigating it.”

Grile says in Hilliard, as such at most central Ohio school districts, a threat of violence of any kind, whether it’s something posted on social media or a bathroom wall, is taken seriously.

Depending on the details of a threat, the investigation could begin with the detective bureau or it could be an immediate response.

“We will send basically all available resources to that location,” Grile said. “Our investigators in the detective section, they drop what they are doing and they respond.”

The cost of that initial response could be anywhere upwards of $5,000-$10,000. And that’s just for that first day.

It’s also a cost that could affect the family of a student who made the threat.

Kenneth Trump is president of National School Safety and Security Services, an organization based in Cleveland that helps schools assess security.

“Our parents and kids have to realize that it’s no longer a joke,” Trump said. “It’s a situation that’s going to be treated seriously, investigated thoroughly, comes with a ton of bricks that includes costs, suspension, expulsion, criminal prosecution, restitution, thousands of dollars.”

There’s also the cost of what’s lost when class is disrupted and learning time is replaced by school evacuations and canceled classes.

“As parents and educators, we can use those teachable moments when we see other threats being made elsewhere to have a conversation with our child to say – look, you may have seen something by someone else, but this is really serious and there’s why these are the things that can happen to you,” Trump said.

Deputy Grile agrees, saying there’s even most cost for families to consider.

“There is a cost to the parents when students are released at 1 in the afternoon, there is a cost to the feeling of comfort and safety of community,” Grile said. “So there is a cost way beyond once we have arrived on scene and determined this isn’t going to happen right now.”