FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- After a wave of bomb and violent threats made recently at schools across the state and throughout the country, Fairfield County lawmakers and a Sandy Hook family spoke at the State Capitol in favor of making schools safer in Connecticut.
State sen. Tony Hwang (R-28th) and state Rep. William Tong (D-Stamford and Darien), said that proposed Senate Bill 246, an act concerning the zero-tolerance safe school environment, would increase the penalties for when a threat involves a preschool, kindergarten through 12 school or an institution of higher education.
The bill would make threats made against a school a Class C felony that carries up to 10 years in prison. A similar bill last year secured the unanimous backing of the Senate but never came up for a vote in the House.
“These threats of violence against schools highlight the need to get tougher,” said Hwang, a co-sponsor of the legislation who represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Westport and Weston. “The threats have been made in Fairfield, Stamford, Newtown and across Connecticut. The devastating impact to the psyches of parents, educators and children in a school environment is absolutely, positively unacceptable. If someone does commit such a despicable act, they should face severe penalties that bring the punishment more in line with the crime. The threats in Connecticut and around the country reinforce the need to strengthen our laws in this area.”
Sandy Hook residents Bernard and Maureen Reidy urged passage of the proposal, noting that the state can “send a strong message that we will not tolerate threats of violence against our schools and that we’re serious about protecting our children, teachers and administrators.”
Last fall, Fairfield evacuated all of its public schools and sent home all of its 10,000 students early after bogus threats were called in, police said. Just last month, Stamford High was evacuated under a fake bomb threat that also called for violence as students left the building, police said.
The bill will receive a public hearing Wednesday, March 2 at 1 p.m. at the Gen Re Auditorium, University of Connecticut, 1 University Place, Stamford.
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