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Schools Superintendent Issues Warning After Bomb Threats, Major Fights

Sept. 24, 2007 — St. Croix schools in general and St. Croix Central High in particular were disrupted last week by a string of bomb threats and several serious and disruptive fights, drawing a warning from the superintendent.
"We are no longer going to succumb to unwarranted and wanton acts that continuously disrupt classes and contribute to the loss of countless instructional hours," said Gary Molloy, St. Croix superintendent of schools. "Adverse behaviors on school campuses must stop now, and we need the help of all members of the community."
In a written release, Molloy asked parents and community groups to help stem the tide of bad behavior disrupting classes and endangering students and staff. There were four bomb threats in one day last week, according to V.I. Police Department spokeswoman Monyka Johnigan.
“Central (High School) had two bomb threats on Sept. 17,” she said. “That day three schools had threats, and Central had two.”
The first threat was called in at 8:14 a.m. to Elena Christian Jr. High. Then, at 11:15, a call came into John Woodson. Central’s threats came in at 12:03 and another at 1:54. By 2:10, all the schools had been declared clear and safe.
The threats put the school and police in a bind as they weigh how to react to what is probably a prank, but possibly much worse, Johnigan said.
“The police make every effort to respond vigorously,” she said. “But at the same time it is important not to disrupt school any more than necessary.”
The response teams determined evacuation was not necessary during last week’s threats.
Bomb threats have been common in recent years. (See "More School Bomb Threats Plague St. Croix." and "News Brief: Bomb Threat Halts School Bus Service.")
Some suspects have been apprehended in the past, as well. (See "Police Arrest Teenage Bomb Threat Suspect.")
Police have received some anonymous calls and have some leads, Johnigan said. St. Croix Police Chief Thomas Hannah said he is determined to make those responsible fully accountable once they are found.
Central has also been the scene of several serious fights recently. Tyrone Molyneux, a representative of the American Federation of Teachers union, said he believed Central had to be shut down briefly last week for authorities to regain control of the school.
Conflicts on school campuses often spill over from students' issues in the community, Molloy noted. He urged parents to alert school officials of any incidents at home or at play, or any change in behavior that perhaps may have the potential to escalate into serious disturbances on school campuses.
Molyneux, representing the teachers, essentially agrees.
“The real solution is more parental involvement,” he said. “More communication between parents and children as to what their child is doing in school every day.”
The students need more guidance from school officials and parents about behavioral standards, Molyneux said.
“They need to understand what the consequences of their behavior are,” he said. “We need to inform them collectively what is expected of them and what the consequences of their behavior will be if they become a disciplinary problem.”
The school district is increasing its efforts to rid school campuses of conflicts by working very closely with school security personnel and law enforcement officials to ensure that safety becomes a top priority, Molloy said.
"Our schools are impacted by problems filtered throughout the community," he said. "The community must develop a different mindset, in that our schools are not breeding grounds for antisocial behaviors or criminal activity. It is time for all concerned parties to come together for serious discussion and implementation of a plan to defuse these behaviors."
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Sept. 24, 2007 -- St. Croix schools in general and St. Croix Central High in particular were disrupted last week by a string of bomb threats and several serious and disruptive fights, drawing a warning from the superintendent.
"We are no longer going to succumb to unwarranted and wanton acts that continuously disrupt classes and contribute to the loss of countless instructional hours," said Gary Molloy, St. Croix superintendent of schools. "Adverse behaviors on school campuses must stop now, and we need the help of all members of the community."
In a written release, Molloy asked parents and community groups to help stem the tide of bad behavior disrupting classes and endangering students and staff. There were four bomb threats in one day last week, according to V.I. Police Department spokeswoman Monyka Johnigan.
“Central (High School) had two bomb threats on Sept. 17,” she said. “That day three schools had threats, and Central had two.”
The first threat was called in at 8:14 a.m. to Elena Christian Jr. High. Then, at 11:15, a call came into John Woodson. Central’s threats came in at 12:03 and another at 1:54. By 2:10, all the schools had been declared clear and safe.
The threats put the school and police in a bind as they weigh how to react to what is probably a prank, but possibly much worse, Johnigan said.
“The police make every effort to respond vigorously,” she said. “But at the same time it is important not to disrupt school any more than necessary.”
The response teams determined evacuation was not necessary during last week’s threats.
Bomb threats have been common in recent years. (See "More School Bomb Threats Plague St. Croix." and "News Brief: Bomb Threat Halts School Bus Service.")
Some suspects have been apprehended in the past, as well. (See "Police Arrest Teenage Bomb Threat Suspect.")
Police have received some anonymous calls and have some leads, Johnigan said. St. Croix Police Chief Thomas Hannah said he is determined to make those responsible fully accountable once they are found.
Central has also been the scene of several serious fights recently. Tyrone Molyneux, a representative of the American Federation of Teachers union, said he believed Central had to be shut down briefly last week for authorities to regain control of the school.
Conflicts on school campuses often spill over from students' issues in the community, Molloy noted. He urged parents to alert school officials of any incidents at home or at play, or any change in behavior that perhaps may have the potential to escalate into serious disturbances on school campuses.
Molyneux, representing the teachers, essentially agrees.
“The real solution is more parental involvement,” he said. “More communication between parents and children as to what their child is doing in school every day.”
The students need more guidance from school officials and parents about behavioral standards, Molyneux said.
“They need to understand what the consequences of their behavior are,” he said. “We need to inform them collectively what is expected of them and what the consequences of their behavior will be if they become a disciplinary problem.”
The school district is increasing its efforts to rid school campuses of conflicts by working very closely with school security personnel and law enforcement officials to ensure that safety becomes a top priority, Molloy said.
"Our schools are impacted by problems filtered throughout the community," he said. "The community must develop a different mindset, in that our schools are not breeding grounds for antisocial behaviors or criminal activity. It is time for all concerned parties to come together for serious discussion and implementation of a plan to defuse these behaviors."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.