A prosecutor in southwest Iowa is now discussing what landed a Council Bluffs woman in jail this week after she wrote about school shootings on Facebook. Police charged 39-year-old Teri Pallat with harassment and making terroristic threats after she suggested her son might soon be opening fire at Lewis Central High School. Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber says that type of comment is not the way to vent one’s frustrations.
Wilber says, “In today’s day and age, especially when we’re sitting here at the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook and within a couple days of another school shooting out in Colorado, we take all of these threats very, very seriously.” Pallat was upset because her son, a student at the school, had been bullyed over many months and she blamed administrators for not doing anything to stop it.
Reports say Pallat had filed a police report about an attack on her son at school last month. “I know that law enforcement was at least looking into some of her concerns,” Wilber says. “I know that one of the assistants in my office had been talking either to her or law enforcement. Obviously, it was a little different situation when I started receiving phone calls at night about the situation on Facebook.”
In her rambling Facebook rant, Pallat said her son would “get the ones that caused this,” and claimed he’s a good shot. School officials reported the posting to police and deny there’s a problem with bullying at Lewis Central. Wilber says people need to understand something about how the law works. “There is no criminal law against bullying,” Wilber says. “We don’t charge bullying. If there’s been an assault or there’s been harassment or there’s been threats, those are things we look at in criminal law. You hear the word bullying used all the time but we don’t have the crime of bullying.”
Pallat has told reporters her son hit his head when he was tackled by a bully in a locker room and now suffers from seizures. Here is the full text of Pallat’s post on Facebook: “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 man.”