Federal Effort Details Bomb-Threat Prevention Tactics

By Marianne D. Hurst — October 15, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A new training program developed by the federal government aims to help school administrators and local law-enforcement officials deal more effectively with school bomb threats.

A CD-ROM containing threat-prevention measures, response training, and follow- up procedures will be distributed to the nation’s public school districts, according to U.S. Department of Education officials, who are working with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on the program.

“We clearly understand now because of 9/11 that a bomb threat needs to be taken for real,” said William Modzeleski, the Education Department’s associate deputy undersecretary in charge of the office of safe and drug-free schools.

In the past, bomb threats were often viewed as idle pranks made by students who wanted a day off, Mr. Modzeleski said.

But now, he said, many school officials, faced with bomb-threat disruptions that have forced some to extend their school calendars, believe that such threats need to be dealt with more effectively.

ATF spokesman Andrew Lluberes said that the two federal agencies began working on the program after the 1999 Columbine High School attack, which claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher at the Jefferson County, Colo., school, in addition to those of the two student gunmen.

Although no organization has tracked the number of bomb threats received by schools each year, the National School Safety Center—a private, nonprofit organization based in Westlake Village, Calif.—estimates that the Columbine shootings inspired more than 5,000 bomb threats in the six months following the incident.

Department of Education officials hope that the CD-ROM and its companion Web site——will help strengthen partnerships between school districts and local law enforcement.

Still, it’s only meant to be a guide, federal officials say, and districts should tailor their own response plans based on local needs.


Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
Content provided by

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: October 11, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 27, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 20, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education From Our Research Center What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.
1 min read
Stylized illustration of a pie chart
Traci Daberko for Education Week