COUNCIL BLUFFS — A Council Bluffs mother was arrested on suspicion of making threats after posting a Facebook comment suggesting that her son was going to shoot up Lewis Central High School, authorities said.
Teri Pallat was arrested and charged with first-degree harassment, an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up two years in prison, and making terroristic threats, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber said Tuesday.
The Facebook comment grew out of her 15-year-old son being bullied at the high school, Pallat said Tuesday. She said the bullying began in September 2012 and has not let up.
“Lewis Central has done nothing about it,'' Pallat said about the alleged abuse of her son, whom she said has been expelled from the school.
Pallat said her son suffered a head injury in a September 2012 hazing incident and later developed epilepsy.
According to Council Bluffs police, the Facebook post read: “And they asked why do people shoot up schools, well this is exactly why and when our son does it cause I know he will have nobody to blame but the administration and I promise everyone he will only get the ones that caused this. He is an excellent marks men.”
The post was on her 16-year-old daughter's page, Pallat said.
“It was something about this is why shootings happen in schools,'' she said about the posting.
Lewis Central has not fully followed up on her complaints about the bullying, she said.
“They (Lewis Central administrators) say nothing has been caught on camera and my son, who has epilepsy, needs to file better reports,'' Pallat said.
Joel Beyenhof, Lewis Central principal, said Tuesday that the boy will not attend classes at the school until a probe into the threats is completed.
School officials have been looking into Pallat's bullying claims, he said, but a proper investigation can take time.
“We look into any complaint as thoroughly as possible,'' he said. “We take bullying very seriously.
“People get frustrated,'' Beyenhof said, “but doing what she did was completely unacceptable.''
He said some students brought Pallat's post to the attention of school administrators, who then notified Bluffs police Monday night.
“We take posts like hers very seriously. It's sad that she had to go to the extent that she did,'' Beyenhof said.
Bluffs police will have a “presence'' at the school at least through Tuesday, he said.
“No. 1 is always school safety. That's paramount,'' Beyenhof said.
Wilber agreed that school threats must be handled with a firm hand.
“I don't know if it's possible to overreact in these situations,'' Wilber said. “This isn't like pulling a fire alarm in school.
“It's absolutely essential that we take this very seriously.''
Pallat posted bail in the case and was released from the Pottawattamie County jail early Tuesday.
The World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.