Parent questions child’s punishment in false alarm case

Staff Writer

A parent of one of the three girls arrested for pulling a fire alarm in a non-emergency situation expressed concern on Monday regarding his daughter’s punishment.

As reported in the April 14 edition of the San Benito News, three Miller Jordan Middle School students were detained after allegedly setting off the fire alarm on two separate incidents on the same day, Wednesday, April 10. They now face state jail felony charges, which were elevated from a misdemeanor since the incident occurred in school, San Benito CISD Police Chief Santiago R. Garcia said.

The parent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as to not identify his daughter, cited numerous other incidents of fire alarms sounding throughout that day. “From what I understand, my daughter said to her mom that there were fire alarms all day long,” the father said. “I don’t know if there was something going on with students protesting or what, but apparently it was an all day thing. It wasn’t just the one incident.”

The concerned parent claims that his daughter is only guilty of removing the plastic from the fire alarm and alleged there was another girl with her who actually set off the alarm. While he agrees that she was indeed involved, the father feels that his daughter’s punishment was much too severe given her small role in the matter.

More so, he is upset because he feels that his daughter did not have an opportunity to explain herself.

“The arresting officer tried to make her sign a confession stating that she did it,” said the girl’s father. “Well, she didn’t sign it, of course. According to my daughter, she didn’t pull the alarm but she pulled the plastic off. So yes, she’s an accomplice, but if this turns out the way they want it to she’s going to be incarcerated for 15 days for that. Not only that, but the court-appointed attorney told her mom that it was easier just to admit that she did it.”

The girl went before a juvenile court judge on Friday, April 12, who set another court date for Friday, April 26.

“They want her to serve 10 days, not counting the weekends or the extra day she spent in there,” the father added. “It’s kind of a lengthy punishment. They gave her a drug test and she passed it. She’s had good grades all year; she’s in ROTC, she’s an animal lover… the whole family is just in shock. We all feel really bad for her. I’m upset that the judge did not allow her to say her side of the story, and the length of time is just crazy and outrageous. She’s a minor, a juvenile, and they want to hold her for all this time. It just doesn’t seem fair.”

Attempts to reach Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón for comment were unsuccessful as of presstime.

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