Robocall Bomb Threats Disturb School Operations

April 22, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pose / poʊz / (v.) – to cause
Example: The confiscated gun was found to be a toy that poses no harm.

2. nuisance / ˈnu səns / (n.) – something seen as unpleasant, which causes annoyance
Example: Noisy neighbors in the middle of the night are a nuisance.

3. perpetrator / ˈpɜr pɪˌtreɪ tər / (n.) – someone who did a crime
Example: The man was found to be the perpetrator of the armed robbery.

4. empowerment / ɛmˈpaʊ ər mənt / (n.) – the act of giving power or authority to someone
Example: A lot of organizations built for women promote women empowerment.

5. incidence / ˈɪn sɪ dəns / (n.) – the rate or frequency of the occurrence of something
Example: There is a higher incidence of crime whenever the holiday season approaches.


Read the text below.
Operations in several schools across New Jersey and Northern Virginia in the United States were disrupted when the schools’ management received bomb threats through robocalls.

Robocalls are calls that have a prerecorded message instead of a live speaker at the other end of the line. Some of these calls are permitted by law, such as those for political or charitable purposes. Other types of robocalls, especially those that have not been given permission by the receiver, are illegal.

The robocall threats reached seven schools in Virginia and about a dozen in New Jersey in the morning of March 4. After hours of investigation, authorities declared that none of the bomb threats were real.

Despite not posing actual harm, the robocalls became a huge nuisance as several schools required students, teachers, and staff to evacuate. In addition, explosives experts and bomb-sniffing dogs searched school grounds. School operations were halted for hours before returning to normal in the afternoon.

Robocalls have become more common through the years. Advancements in technology allow perpetrators to reach several people across wide regions for a cheap price. Technology also allows them to hide their identities using fake caller IDs, making it difficult for authorities to trace them.

The perpetrators of the robocall bomb threats have not been found yet, but Educators Schools Safety Network co-founder Dr. Amy Klinger speculates that Internet-based organizations are behind the threats.

Klinger calls for school empowerment in handling bomb threats as incidences rise in recent years. Current records show that schools in the United States receive eight to ten threats daily. The highest incidence of bomb threats to schools was recorded in January 2016, with a total of 206 threats sent to schools in various states.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you think robocall threats would affect the school community? Discuss.
·         What must schools do to protect their students in situations like the one in the article?

Discussion B

·         If you received a similar threat, what course of action would you take and why?
·         What would you do to prevent being a victim of robocalls?

April 22, 2016