By Kim Hilsenbeck
A Hays High student was arrested April 24 after confessing to a bomb threat made against the school a day previous. The threat prompted law enforcement to evacuate the campus.
It was the third bathroom wall threat against the district’s two big high schools in a seven-day timeframe.
The Hays County Sheriff’s Office arrested 17-year-old Dusty Williamson with False Alarm or Report, which is a state jail felony.
According to HCSO Lt. Jeri Skrocki, Williamson acted alone in making the threat. Skrocki said the HCSO’s investigation involved conducting interviews with students, along with viewing videotape from the school. Skrocki said it was established that Williamson had handwriting “similar to what was displayed.”
“From there, we basically brought him in, talked to him about it, and he confessed to (making the threat),” Skrocki said.
Skrocki said Williamson “had his own personal reasons” for making the threat, but that he took no action.
The investigation was a joint effort between law enforcement and school officials. Thursday’s incident involved response from Hays CISD, the Kyle Police and Fire departments, San Marcos/Hays County EMS and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
That is the third time since April 17 that Hays CISD officials and local law enforcement dealt with a threat written on a bathroom wall at a high school.
On April 23, a threat was discovered at about 3:15 p.m., threatening a bomb would go off at 3:50 p.m. at Hays High School. According to Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy, law enforcement initiated an evacuation of everyone in the campus buildings to the stadium.
Authorities cleared the buildings at about 6:30 p.m. Savoy said nothing was found during the sweep. Some staff members were involved in assisting law enforcement with checking the campus looking for anything suspicious.
At least one employee said she didn’t feel comfortable hearing that staff had to assist law enforcement. Savoy said a limited number of staff worked with police because they knew all the areas of the buildings and had access to the entire campus.
Hays High School Principal David Pierce sent a letter to parents Thursday evening regarding the bomb threat. His strongly worded final paragraph reminded parents that he and the district do not consider the threat a joke or a prank.
“It is a crime that carries strong consequences from both a school disciplinary perspective and from the criminal courts,” he wrote.
The full text of that letter is available below.
Savoy said threats of this nature have other ripple effects and consequences, including inciting fear and panic among students, staff and the community, the time law enforcement officials spend investigating, loss of instruction time, and even a loss of funds to the district when students remain home from school.
Williamson was released April 25 from the Hays County Jail on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
The full text of Pierce’s letter is below:
Dear Hays High School Parents,
This afternoon we discovered a threat written on a bathroom wall. Unlike Monday, this threat was about a bomb. We take these threats very seriously. While we hope they don’t have merit, we will always act and respond in a way necessary to protect the safety of our students. Each response may vary depending upon the circumstances and recommendations made by emergency responders.
In response to today’s threat, and in coordination with law enforcement, we conducted a precautionary evacuation of everyone to our stadium. Because this occurred at the end of the school day, we implemented an orderly and safe student release from our stadium. Thank you for your patience during this process. I also want to extend appreciation to our students and staff for their model behavior during this event. Our Hays High School team worked together to make everything run as smoothly as possible. I am particularly grateful for the quick and professional response from our local law enforcement and other first-responders.
Our building was thoroughly searched and cleared this evening. There was no danger located. We expect no problems tomorrow and will operate on a normal schedule.
I want to be clear that we do not consider this a joke or a prank. It is a crime that carries strong consequences from both a school disciplinary perspective and from the criminal courts. It is disruptive and frightening to our students, parents and staff. Our campus Crime Stoppers is offering a monetary reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of the individual(s) involved. Contact Crime Stoppers at: 800-324-8477 (TIPS).
The senior panoramic picture scheduled for tomorrow at 8:00am is still on schedule.
David R. Pierce