HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers are resurrecting a bill that would impose tougher criminal penalties against those who threaten schools.
The legislation follows a spate of bomb threats made recently at schools across the state.
Stamford Democratic Rep. William Tong said Thursday that there have been several threats at schools in his city that prompted evacuations. He said threats needlessly cause panic and must be stopped.
Under the bill, those who threaten preschools, schools containing kindergarten through 12th grade or institutions of higher education could face a Class C felony and up to 10 years in prison. Sen. Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, said the threats have gone beyond childish pranks.
Newtown resident Maureen Reidy stood with the lawmakers. She said that since the tragedy at Sandy Hook School, St. Rose of Lima has experienced several phoned-in threats both to the church and the school. She recalled that Police and SWAT teams have rushed the school building yelling at students and staff to get down and that they experience all kinds of anxiety and fear that 12-14 is happening all over again.
Hwang says this is something they can truly all get behind because it's all about the kids. He notes that these are not threats of the past like when kids pulled the fire alarms or made a crank phone call. He says these are much more sophisticated, intricate programs with the intent of creating terror and trauma.
A public hearing is planned March 2 in Stamford.
A similar bill died last year in the House of Representatives.