Benton County Sheriff talks about taking alleged school threats seriously
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. —
In the last few weeks, there's been string of alleged threats made by students throughout the region.
Some of the locations include Connell, Dayton and Benton City.
The Benton County Sheriff's Office recently investigated two incidents in the Finley School District.
Even on Monday, law enforcement in Grandview investigated a social media threat that caused schools in Grandview to take security measures.
Officials say a suspect was detained by Grandview Police Monday afternoon.
Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher believes part of the reason why more reports about school threats have been made recently is due to awareness: “And that which draws more media coverage to it because we do get these periodically. We take them very seriously. We look at them. We try to work with the parents and the school district and the prosecutor’s office on what is the right approach to get these kids back to where they need to be.”
Sheriff Hatcher says it can be difficult for teachers to figure out if a threat is serious or not. He says often times the students don’t have any intent to follow through.
“This is all about public safety and keeping our kids safe and I would rather err on the side of caution and I encourage the students to do that, the teachers, the parents. It’s better to get us involved and figure out what’s going on so that we can put a stop to something before it happens.”
But sometimes threats made by students can actually be serious.
Last month three students were expelled from Kiona-Benton City High School after they allegedly conspired to murder another student.
Two of those students are now being tried as adults.
“The incident that happened with the high school was a very serious incident and could have gone a completely different way and it warranted criminal investigation.
Sheriff Hatcher says if you do see something suspicious, tell someone. He's says that could be a teacher, law enforcement or a parent.