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Apr 12 2013

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3 kids charged with falsely pulling fire alarm

By FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ
Staff Writer
reporter@sbnewspaper.com

Three middle school students face state jail felony charges after pulling a fire alarm for non-emergency reasons in two separate incidents.

Both incidents occurred at Miller Jordan Middle School on Wednesday, April 10, according to San Benito CISD Police Chief Santiago R. Garcia.

“There were three girls who were charged,” said Garcia. “One incident occurred during lunch time, and the other one happened about an hour to an hour and a half later where they pulled the alarm again. All three of them were charged with a state jail felony.”

The school district police chief said that while pulling a fire alarm in a non-emergency is a class ‘A’ misdemeanor, doing so in a school elevates the charge to a state jail felony.

Garcia said that it is standard operating procedure to detain the students and contact juvenile authorities, which was the case in this particular situation.

“We don’t arrest them, we detain them and we let the juvenile authorities know what’s going on,” Garcia explained. “It’s up to them to decide whether we release them to their parents and they appear to a juvenile judge at a later date.”

Garcia added that it is not uncommon for students to pull the fire alarm at school, but he also said that this was the first incident to occur this school year.

“That’s why we have the surveillance cameras,” Garcia said. “We can go back and look at the hallways. It will show who or what pulled the fire alarm. This is the first time this has happened all year long, that I can think of.”

The ages and grades to the students involved in the incident were not made available as of presstime.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2013/04/12/3-kids-charged-with-falsely-pulling-fire-alarm/

48 comments

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  1. Not my child

    Felony charges for pulling a a fire Alarm at school is too harsh, it’s a bad decision, however making these children a felon, it a wasted life, why finish school, they are no longer able to join the work force. They can’t even get a job at the local Walmart ” teaching the youth lessons is one things, it’s a child’s prank, but putting s felony change is very destructive. Most only have compassion for their own, I don’t know any of these girls, but they need a good attorney.

  2. unknown

    I got accuse of pulling the firealarm but it was the staff member

  3. Orale

    RE: mark

    talk about a blast from the past!

  4. mark

    Im in middle school and today a kid at our school pulled the fire alarm and we all just stopped and froze the thing
    was the student never got charged i’m not going to give out a name but it was a 6th grader and im in 7th grade .

    1. technicalboy3000

      Same thing happened today in school a naughty freshman pulled the alarm down and rumor has it one of the guidance counselors told me he only got a warning card not even suspended. But still DON’T pull the fire alarm because if you do pull it, you can get in trouble

      1. Ethan Ovechkin

        I was in 1st period and somebody pulled the fire alarm, but we had just had a drill recently, so all the younger students panicked when they pulled it, but it was a false alarm.
        Never found out what happened to the person

    2. Ethan Ovechkin

      I’m in a secondary school though, 7-12th.

  5. HEY

    HAHA 3 girls in my school pulled the fire alarm as a continuing end of the year prank. It was the third time going off that week, all by different people. But the 3 girls where the only ones who got charged. I was one of the 3 but was not the one to pull the alarm. I got into the juvenile court system, 6 months probation, finger printed, extreme court costs, and suspended from school for 10 days. My friends where considered adults, but they all got the same charge. We faced jail time. I learned my lesson, but seriously it’s not that big of a deal.

    1. technicalboy3000

      It’s a GIGANTIC DEAL! Listen! My school has some of the WORST freshmen in New York City, but they don’t even go near the fire alarm EVER! Sometimes I just stare at it for a few seconds to read the nameplates on the fireboxes but I don’t go touching it!

  6. CLASS

    THAT GIRL –

    yes the truth hurts. and yes the ones that are hurting are the girls who made a bad decision. thats the way it works. hello!?!? did i miss something? did you? they are hurting? wow! your comment makes no sense. breaking the law, not following rules, all lead to consequences. hurt? yeah, it’s suppose to so that a lesson is learned. here’s an idea: lets all break the rules and not get punished for it so that we don’t get hurt. speed. rob houses. cuss at teachers. pull fire alarms. etc. etc. then, let’s just type or say words just because they serve no purpose (this is a comment section by the way – where words are used.).

    oh wait, isn’t that what yliana, the huertas, and june and her daddy do already. great community role models. by the way, do they pay local taxes, city fees, live in the city? how convenient for them to waste money they don’t contribute to.

    and the SB comment, its quite simple, you don’t like it, leave it. don’t have anything to do with it. vete!

    point – its not about being negative or positive, being liked or disliked. its about making things right. fixing things. being accountable. being responsible. many times doing what’s right isn’t always the easiest or most preferred thing to do.

  7. That Girl

    To CLASS: The truth hurts? Really?
    The only ones who are hurting are the girls who made a bad decision. Ill words serve no purpose. Oh, I forgot… this is SB.

  8. Juan

    This is not a question of class,or no class,it’s a question of knowing right ,from wrong,pretty much black or white,it’s used to be something good parents would instill,no need for a special government free course to tutor the parents,but now it appears it will have to be furnished by the gov.,”my taxes”,because the parents aren’t able to handle their own kids.

  9. Class

    In reference to THAT GIRL and JUAN ….
    Class or no class, the truth hurts.

    In reference to LAW ABIDING CITIZEN ….
    Well said. I agree!

  10. Juan

    Fair enough,the child,and the parents should all be held accountable,book-em,lock them up,”do the time”.
    This will,hopefully teach the parents,that parenting is not just a game of seeing how many babies you can make,but instilling the rules of society,on your children.The girl,she deserves what the crime warrants.
    Hey people,go somewhere else,outside of San Benito,or the Valley,this is a serious offense,false alarms get people killed,it’s no joke,especially in this day and age of terrorism,this is not play,what don’t you understand about this.Set an example,make all concerned do the maximum time.And yes,I agree,figure out what those people at the school board are hiding,it looks bad,no transparency,why no disclosures,this group that is all so concerned with their legal representation,what a joke,bring in the clowns.

    1. Ashtin davidson

      someone pulled the fire alarm at my school today. tbh, throwing them in jail for it is out of proportion. People criminalize people too much, not give them justice. jail time for that is over the limit. It was a harmless prank, not a thing to hurt any body

  11. law abiding citizen

    Keep reminding her / them why you are fighting for them.
    BUT BY ALL MEANS REMIND THEM THAT WHAT THEY DID WAS ABSOLUTELY WRONG!!!
    It doesnt matter who thought of it but rather that they went along with it.

    With everything going on in this world…my own child is crying at home afraid no one is going
    to belive when the darn fire alarm goes on again thanks to the actions of these foolish girls.

    So Ms. Mom forgive me if I don’t have very much compassion for your daughter crying at home.
    SHE OWES THE WHOLE SCHOOL AN APOLOGY… SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT RIGHT???!!!

  12. That Girl

    Juan: You have no class sir. If you have to be rude, then keep it to yourself.

  13. Concerned Parent

    Setting examples are not only set by parents. I am a positive influence for my family. Parents cannot be with ther children at all times. Parents do work and most of us do not have the dream job of 8AM to 5PM Monday thru Friday. There are several negitive influences everywhere children go such as schools. My child does not intimidate me. I feel I should not have to justify my parentng to anyone; espcially to someone who does not feel kids do not have a mind of their own.

  14. Juan

    “Concerned Parent”,if you had taught your kid,and disciplined them, like you should have,we wouldn’t even be having this conversation,maybe your the one that’s at fault,maybe you should be serving the”time”.perhaps your whinning over this issue is as the consulors say your truly admitting guilt,for the way in which you brought up your kid.
    As far as setting examples,read my post,under the school side show.Kids imitate their parents,and their community leaders,if they have bad examples to follow,so be it.Monkey see,monkey do.

    1. Rianne

      Grammatical nightmare

  15. Reform San Benito

    Concerned Parent, I’m a little concerned with something you wrote: 13 days in the juve facility? How do you know how long she’ll be there? Was she offered bond? Think you should contact an attorney, if you haven’t already. State jail felony is a serious charge. Please keep us informed on your daughter’s well being. Good luck and God’s blessings to all involved.

  16. Coincidence

    In life, we make many choices. Each choice that we make, has a consequence. Your child chose to hang around with the wrong crowd. Consequence – Guilty by association. Maybe it’s time we really pay attention to our children and see who there friends really are. I’ve always told my kids not to expect me to bail them out from there mistakes even if it was an honest mistake. They need to learn accountability even if our society or city hasn’t. Punishment fit the crime. I don’t think so. Should have been sent to PRC for the remainder of the school year. Next time they will think twice before pulling another practical joke.

  17. Denny Crane, Jr.

    A person charged with “making a terroristic threat” against another, similar to a man who threatens to kill his girlfriend, faces a misdemeanor. The common penalty faced by an individual is a Class B misdemeanor. For a Class B misdemeanor a person faces a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and/or up to a fine of $2,000.

    However, pulling a fire alarm in a non-emergency in a school is a “state felony”.

    “In the Texas Penal Code, a false alarm offense – which includes setting off a fire alarm or making a false 9-1-1 call – is a Class A misdemeanor, unless it involves a public school. Then the charge automatically becomes a state jail felony offense, punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.”

    Go figure!

    I hope the SBNEWS does interview the CONCERNED PARENT to get more detail because I feel there is more to the story than what the school administration is putting out in the media.

    BTW, in some alarms, pulling the alarm cover merely sounds the horn, pulling the actual alarm will trigger or activate the alarm.

  18. howard johnson

    The district needs to rewrite sudent policy handbooks with parent responsablities and student behavior , deress codes , ect and mention where it states it’s a state felony crime to pull fire alarms when there is no fires. Make the students and parents read and sign the hand books and submitt copies back to the school district when they are registering for the school year be it in the 6th grade or ninth grade entering high school. You make what you create. Onward through the Fog!

  19. Fed up

    @ RSB, excellent points sir, well articulated.

    @ Concerned Parent: I feel your pain, but disciplinary action is to “correct” one’s behavior. However, I do agree with you, the punishment is way too harsh for what the girls did. I am sure serving say 3 days maximum at this facility would teach them that their actions do come with consequences. I know with good parenting, and perhaps some counseling, the girls should not suffer permanent scars, but rather a painful reminder to act accordingly.

    I state the following with all due respect, the disciplinary action has been determined, the time has been served, so instead of sending out to the girls a message of “we will fight this this unwarranted, overly severe punishment, maybe you should just move forward and hope the lesson has been learned.

    But again, to reiterate, I agree 100% the disciplinary action was too severe. I wish you and your family nothing but the best

    1. Ekun Phoenix

      They still should have known exactly what would happen, they and their parents should have signed something like the Student Rights and Responsibilities (the VA equivalent of whatever theirs is) that stated they understood the punishments that would result from doing any of these out-of-line behaviors and therefor if they think the consequences are too harsh, Then You SHOULDN’T DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE Because you signed a form saying you read it, And IF YOU READ IT YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN THE PUNISHMENTS!! So you should have known better.

  20. G. Flores

    Back up a school district decision that is the opposite of the school procedures? I do not think so. I hope your family never has to go through an ordeal like these parents are going through. What part of their lives are now ruin for their future, do you not get? As an employee, I see every day the behaviors of these youths. Again, it took three hands to pull the alarm? After the first pull alarm, the video was not watched by administrators? No one bother to call these girls’ parents as soon as the first alarm was pulled?
    Something does not add up.

  21. G. Flores

    Concerned Parent: It is good to know that your child has a parent with a voice. Sounds like the school district procedures are not in line with the actions taken. Make sure and write down all the words and actions you can remember from your meeting with the authorities. It will be important. We will pray for your child.

  22. Concerned Parent

    They are juveniles! I am the parent of one of these girls. She is going to spend a total of 13 days in that facility and it’s way too long. She is in distress and has been crying and crying. I feel this will emotionaly scar her permanetly. This punishment is way to steep, Why not a supension or some saturday school. I’m sure that will be on top of her time served. Look at the student manual online it says a student pulling a fire alarm will be sent to alternative school, not the detention center. The principal was not even on campus she passed a drug test and they tried to make her sign a confession which she did not!. This is also affecting her siblings, they feel very sad and bad for her. This is just so upsetting to my family. SBNEWS – Feel free to email me to setup an interview

    1. howard johnson

      How specfic is the student manual? I hope it mentions state laws in refernace to offensesin public schools to the level of punishement since we live in a mordern society that has laws and rules that need to be obeyed in order for people to live in a safe invironment. Do’nt give up and if anything I am sure you daughter is being watched over and is safe where she is at . I pray God will help you and your daughter through this. Have faith.

      1. Ekun Phoenix

        The SR&R and whatever the equivalent is in this case, Are VERY specific about the punishments for misbehavior and all students are required to sign a form saying that they have read, understand and will abide by the rules. They signed it, and most do not read it, But you signed a statement saying that you read, understand and will abide by the rules which you broke. And you should therefor have known the consequences of your actions. And you agreed to those terms. Therefor you’re subject to those rules and the consequences that you agreed to when you signed that form. There is no, “I had no idea” Because you signed the form and it tells you about the resulting punishments of pulling fire alarms, bringing matches to school, etc. Yes I realize that this is redundant but I’m getting at all the main points and stressing the fact that you signed the statement that you agreed to the terms of, so you have no right to complain that you don’t agree with the punishment.

    2. Concerned Parent

      They are juveniles; I am the parent of one of the girls which is being detained. I feel the punishement is HARSH. I feel the school mishandled the issue. The school has their PD and the school, district should have handled the issue. There was no need to cntact the SBPD. I am all for punshiment but felony charge is inaccpetable. The school did not have parents permission to contact SBPD and the girls were torn into the ADULT POINT OF VIEW of the crime. My daughter advised me the school PD kept insisiting she had told him she had pulled the fire alarm. They want her to admit to something she did not do and yes she was there when the other girl pulled the alarm, yes she new the intend but being detained and charged for a felony; is HARSH. I wonder if the city and the school is aware the kind of negitive impact the girls will have towards authorty. I was advised if we fight the charge; my daughter will run a chance of being detained longer than the 10 days which starts today.

      1. QBSB

        Mam, I feel bad for your dilema in regards to your daughter. I understand from mine that there was word there was going to be more copy cats due to her actions,but that the principle announced if there was there would be consequences. At this age she should have know better…For the one that is in ROTC, those students are not any better…the only thing that helps there is that when they misbehave in other classes the teachers atleast have someone to go report it to (their captain) and he makes them run. I am not saying you daughter did do it or didnt but the fact remains she was an accomplice no matter what. The only lesson for her to learn here is to learn from her mistakes. I assure you she and her so called friends will think twice about it next time they think of doing something so stupid as this . What is that old saying? “Tell me who you hang around with and i’ll tell you who you are”. Be vigilant as to who she hangs aroung with is what I would learn from this for my daughter!

      2. technicalboy3000

        Well just today one of the naughty freshmen not in my class in my school decided to pull the fire alarm! I was in social studies class listening to my lovely teacher tell the class to stop talking all period long then the next thing i hear is the sound of the fire alarm. 10 mins later an announcement comes on saying there a false alarm. All the sophomores were scared crapless. So, the class clown kept telling me there was a fire in the school but being smart i told him theres no fire it’s just another dumb freshman trying to terrorize the school for a pointless reason. The AP was furious when she made the announcement. I ran like a jerk up the stairs to the cafeteria only to hear the school had suspended the guy’s hiney into the dust.

    3. technicalboy3000

      Solution: DON’T PULL THE ALARM IN THE FIRST PLACE! Any punishment is good enough! Heck I’m afraid to even go within 10 ft of the fire alarm in my school!

  23. Reform San Benito

    Maybe the kids in our schools are learning the wrong things. Maybe the kids in our community are learning they don’t have to be accountable for their actions. In science’s long-running battle over nature vs. nurture, maybe disregarding the law is a learned behavior they picked up from our community leaders. In the past year or so, look at what they’ve learned:

    It’s ok to commit an act against policy and law, then lie to the highest ranking school administrator during an investigation and still keep your job.

    It’s ok for the school board president to order an unethical, if not illegal, act while friends cover and thwart attempts for an investigation — then take trips paid for by the school district.

    It’s ok not to pay taxes on a property in your name — after having already lost your elected position once in the past for the same infraction — if you surround yourself with friends who won’t hold you accountable.

    It’s ok to retaliate against others on account of their status as a public servant by removing their name from a plaque for no legitimate reason other than your ego demands it and your friends enable.

    Maybe the girls thought no one would care or notice or take action, and might even be given a monetary reward like the city manager, who received a raise after he awarded a substantial contract to the brother-in-law of his common-law wife.

    Maybe the girls felt they didn’t matter and no one of importance, aside from some parents and community altruists, would notice them like the other boys and girls of their club.

    Maybe the girls were overcome with feelings of hopelessness and despair, looking at another scorching summer without a community pool or splash pad while the grown-ups of their city spend valuable resources: The EDC spending nearly $400K on a building for which they have no plan but will, in all probability, end up being new offices for them with a view of the Resaca; and, the San Benito Public Housing Authority creating a corporation that will compete for the extremely limited resources of the community so that they might salvage another monument to the past at the expense of the future of the youth of the city — and new offices for themselves, too.

    Maybe the girls heard the news of the mayor of their city threatening the lives and property of two men, saw he was being slapped on the wrist when he could have been charged with a third degree felony, and thought to themselves, “With adults in our city getting away with threatening arson and murder, how much trouble can we really get into by pulling that little red bar?”

    Maybe the girls actions were calculated. Having looked at boarded and abandoned buildings most of their cognitive lives; having heard of the recent purchase of 10 new vehicles for city administration that wasn’t in the fiscal year budget; having listened to the promises of newly paved streets with money that was borrowed 6 months ago, and not seeing even one street repair underway, they figured their fastest, and maybe only way out of this hell, is through state prison and a halfway house in Houston.

    Or, maybe, just maybe, their collective action is not criminal at all, but heroic. Maybe the alarm they sounded is for a community in need of a wake-up call. A subconscious outcry by three juveniles who can no longer determine the difference between right and wrong based on the standards and actions of the “adults” they’re supposed to look up to and follow. Not excusing their behavior completely or advocating they go unpunished. Just pointing out it’s easy to see how, in this community, lack of respect of and disregard for the law is a means of existence.

    The current community leaders nurture and reinforce disregard for the law by their very examples. It’s a crying shame that these three young girls now face felony records while certain adults in this community habitually run afoul of the law unchecked.

    1. G. Flores

      Perfectly said!

    2. howard johnson

      We need to bring back prayer in our schools and prayer before every city meetings starts. And if they are already doing it then as great american actor and comedian Steve Martin use to says “Well excuuuuse Me! Kids, what can we expect? They should put plastic glass covers on the fire alarms that ways when they start to break them they create noise and when we people here noise there is reactions that may just deter the need to want to pull a fire alarm without any real cause to do so. Poople takeing notice thus createing second thoughts.

      1. Just Passing Through

        Yep, prayer is the answer, because we have never seen a pastor or clergy member violate the law or violate a trust.
        Yes, prayer is the answer indeed.

        1. Ekun Phoenix

          I appreciate your sarcasm, but honestly all humans make mistakes, and those who are close to god tend to make try to do the right thing when they know it’s wrong

  24. QBSB

    G Flores…what part do you not get? They ruined their own school record (life is a little too harsh) ALL ON THEIR OWN!!!
    They need to know there are consequences for their own actions.
    “THEY” WILL RUIN THEIR LIVES IF “THEY” DO NOTHING ABOUT IT NOW BEFORE THEY GET OLDER” YOU CAN HAVE YOUR PICK AS TO WHO I MEAN BY “THEY”.
    I can assure you if they were my kids…I would back up the school districts decision on this case. But thats just me..you on the other hand goes on themore lenient side I imagine.

  25. G. Flores

    Is the Chief saying that these 3 girls pulled the alarm both times? How is that possible? After the first event, didn’t someone look at the tapes and bring the girls to the principal’s office? It took 3 girls to pull the alarm? Come on!
    I hope the NEW school district attorney knows what to do and does not have to call TASB for guidance as what has happened more than once already. People are talking….. This board should never had fired the O’Hanlon Firm.
    Why is the chief talking for the district? Don’t they have a highly paid Public Information Officer that should be speaking for the district?
    I hope the parents get a good attorney. Yes, pulling a school alarm is wrong;however, ruining a middle school students life forever is even a bigger mistake.

  26. Concern Citizen

    People need to understand that the juvenile detention center is not jail they are trying to rehabilitate the kids because if they let them get away with something as small as pulling a fire alarm then eventually they will commit other crimes and end up on the adult system.

  27. Sir

    I completely agree with the punckshment. They need to learn that incidents like this are not to be taken lightly. In my opinion they should stay there the rest of the year!

  28. Enlightened

    Students need to realize that actions have consequences. It is unfortunate that these three make a poor decision and tried to get away with it. It wasn’t a joke, it wasn’t funny, but it was against the law. Let this be a lesson to all students out there,

    1. technicalboy3000

      YA KIDDIN ME? I’m scared to even get near the freakin fire alarm in my school! Also I push people away from the fire boxes when they’re too close to ’em. I recommend you do the same when your coworkers walk too close to the fire alarm boxes.

      1. Ekun

        I agree, I do the same, I find myself next to a fire alarm and I’m thinking ***t. Always stay away unless it’s an emergency

  29. Concerned Parent

    One of these girls has been incarcerated since the incident and will spent the next ten days at Darrel Hester. She is a good student enrolled in ROTC and has not been involved in any incidents all year. This is very upsetting and she does not deserve such a long punisment. This is totaly unacceptable! The punishment does not fit the crime. She claims not to have pulled the alarm but they would not show the recordings.

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