Parents might have to pay for kids' misdeeds

The next time Johnny decides to call in a bomb threat to a school, he might not be the only person in trouble.

The Georgia School Boards Association is considering asking legislators to hold parents accountable for violent acts, theft, vandalism and terroristic threats committed by their children during school hours. That could include passing the bill for responding to bomb threats to parents.

The proposal is among a list of issues the association will discuss with lawmakers in the next session of the General Assembly, said Dr. Don Rooks, who works on legislative matters for the association.

State Rep. Quincy Murphy, who leads the Augusta delegation, has been looking for a way to prevent bomb threats that disrupted classes more than 100 times in Richmond County schools last year.

"Someone needs to be held accountable, and in order for our kids to learn, they need to be in the classroom," Mr. Murphy said. "What our community has gone through is ridiculous."

The threats were such a nuisance last year that representatives of the school board, sheriff's office, judicial system and FBI held a special meeting to coordinate efforts to prevent the threats and catch and prosecute the culprits.

There were 133 bomb threats called in last year in Richmond County, and another one occurred on the first school day this year.

"We cannot continue to operate our schools like this," Mr. Murphy said. "We want (students) to have the type of atmosphere that is conducive to learning."

School board members also want a resolution.

"I think it's a great idea. Maybe parents can start stressing you don't play pranks like that," board member Venus Cain said.

Most parents are trying to do the right thing, she said. A law like this might get the attention of those who are not.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

BOMB THREATS

2005-06: 21

2006-07: 133

Source: Richmond County Board of Education