ALBANY, NY (WENY) – Following the deadly school shooting in Nashville, TN last week, more than 50 school districts in New York have reported swatting incidents, or false reports of a dangerous situation such as an active shooter that would deploy a SWAT team or other emergency response officials.
The New York State Parent Teachers Association expressed concern about this issue and it’s impact.
“We continue to be worried about the mental health of our students and our educators in our school buildings,” said Kyle Belokopitsky, Executive Director New York State PTA.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said she has directed the State Police to investigate these threats.
“It is paralyzing for communities because they have to treat every single threat as if it’s real. We’re investigating, we’re continuing to work with the FBI, but I want parents to know that we are focused on this,” Hochul said.
Currently in New York State the legal consequences of swatting threats are in most cases misdemeanors. Some lawmakers want to change this.
The Senate and the Assembly recently introduced legislation that would make swatting threats a felony.
“I mean you’re really traumatizing these young kids and teachers and putting them in a very unsafe situation someone could get hurt or worse when you have false reporting of an incident. So there really needs to be a concerted effort both state, local and federal,” said Assembly Member Phil Palmesano (R-Corning).
This week U.S. Senator Charles Schumer unveiled a plan to combat this issue including a push for over $10 million in federal funding for FBI investigations.