A Council Bluffs, Iowa woman was arrested Tuesday after she posted a threat on Facebook that her son would “shoot up” his school.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Teri Pallat was charged with first-degree harassment — an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison — and making terroristic threats — a felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years.
Pallat reportedly was sounding off on her 16-year-old daughter’s Facebook page about bullying directed at her 15-year-old son, which Pallat said began in September of 2012.
The Lewis Central High School administration, she wrote, “has done nothing about it.”
The mother claims that her son suffered a head injury in a September 2012 hazing incident and subsequently developed epilepsy.
Council Bluffs police told the World-Herald that the Facebook post in question read, “And they asked why do people shoot up schools, well this is exactly why and when our son does it cause I know he will have nobody to blame but the administration and I promise everyone he will only get the ones that caused this. He is an excellent marks men.”
Pallat told the paper that she has struggled to get school officials to take the targeting of her son seriously.
“They (Lewis Central administrators) say nothing has been caught on camera and my son, who has epilepsy, needs to file better reports,” she said.
The boy has been suspended from school until the matter of the threats is settled.
School principal Joel Beyenhof said that officials at Lewis Central have tried to verify Pallat’s claims that her son is being bullied, but that thorough investigations take time.
“We look into any complaint as thoroughly as possible,” he told the World-Herald’s Jay Winthrow. “We take bullying very seriously.”
Beyenhof said he understands the frustrations parents can feel with the investigation process, but that what Pallat did was “completely unacceptable.”
Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber said, “I don’t know if it’s possible to overreact in these situations. This isn’t like pulling a fire alarm in school. It’s absolutely essential that we take this very seriously.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.