At least four juveniles have been charged with communicating a false alarm in connection with bomb threats reported at Van Buren Schools.
Arrests were made in the threats reported at VBHS on March 14, Northridge Middle School on March 25, Parkview Elementary School on April 8 and the Van Buren Freshman Academy on April 10.
No arrests have been made in connection with the threats reported at VBHS on March 13, Northridge Middle School on March 25, or at VBHS on March 27. However, the statute of limitations allows police three years to make an arrest on the case.
The FBI is also documenting and tracking all bomb threats within the Van Buren School District, according to Det. Jonathan Wear with the Van Buren Police Department.
Van Buren Police and school officials held a news conference Thursday afternoon to address the issue.
“This is not a joke,” said Det. Jonathan Wear. “It’s a felony anyway you look at it, and when we find people responsible for it, we will hold them accountable.”
Communicating a false alarm is a Class D felony. A juvenile could be sentenced to 90 days in a juvenile detention center or played on probation for two years, which includes community service, electronic monitoring, home detention, counseling, boot camp and restitution for emergency response time and costs.
An adult could face up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The bomb threats have caused students to miss several hours of school. Deputy Superintendent for Van Buren School District Kerry Schneider says Arkansas students must complete 178 days in class. If there are too many “disruptions,” days may be added to the end of the school year.
Schneider says parents are concerned about the number of threats made, but have been complimentary of the school’s response.
In each incident, the schools were evacuated, however no threat was found. Other River Valley Schools, including Southside High School, Alma Public Schools, Cedarville Public Schools and Greenwood Public Schools have also dealt with threats of violence recently. For more coverage of these threats, click here.
If you have any information about these crimes, call the River Valley Crime Stoppers tip line at (479) 78-CRIME.