We've all heard of the fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” yet when it comes to keeping kids safe there is no such thing as crying wolf.
Bill Montford, Superintendent of Leon County Schools, says, "Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of knowing whether a call is real, if [an] alarm goes off, we respond."
With more than 40 schools in the Leon County district, bogus calls are bound to happen.
CAPT John Gatlin of the Tallahassee Fire Department says, "When there's smoke in [an] area it could be burning trash etc., but we treat it as serious because we don't know if it is the real thing."
It’s like the recent blaze at Raa Middle School that burned through the gym and two classrooms causing close to half a million dollars in damage, yet not all calls are as severe in nature and fire isn't the only thing to trigger an alarm.
Tom Inserra, Principal of Sealy Elementary School, says, "One night someone forgot to lock the bathroom door. I did respond, police came and we locked the door."
School leaders say every call has the potential to be a wolf in sheep's clothing, like when a pipe burst at Sealy Elementary, flooding four fourth grade classrooms. That call was answered, dodging a disaster.
There is a false alarm ordinance in the state of Florida. A first offense is a misdemeanor with the charges escalating from there.