Connecticut Legislators Calling for Tougher Penalties for Threats against School Communities

March 24, 2015

L to R; state Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-106 ), Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe, state Rep. J.P. Sredzinski (R-112), state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), St. Rose of Lima School parent Maureen Reidy and her husband Bernard, along with Newtown Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Erardi, join in support of SB 1108, The Zero-Tolerance Safe School Environment Act at the Legislative Office Building on March 20, 2015.

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) is supporting legislation aimed at increasing the penalty for threats of violence made against school staff, students and the district.

“Schools now have a heightened sensitivity to what happened in Sandy Hook. The mere threat that produces a lock down has caused and will continue to cause an enormous emotional toll on the children, parents and teachers living this new normal,” said Sen. Boucher. “The seriousness of these threats should be in the forefront. It is my hope a more severe penalty will be a greater deterrent to culprits who call in threats to schools.”

With bipartisan support from area lawmakers, including co-sponsor Sen. Tony Hwang, education advocates and public safety officials the proposal, The Zero-Tolerance Safe School Environment Act, was the subject of a recent public hearing before the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. Ahead of that hearing a press conference was held at the Legislative Office Building to raise awareness about and support for the proposed bill, Senate Bill 1108.

Under the bipartisan proposal, a new subsection pertaining specifically to threats targeting schools would be created under the state’s existing threatening statutes, and the penalties for first-degree threatening would be increased to a Class C felony (it’s currently a Class D felony) and second-degree threatening would become a Class D felony (it’s currently a Class A misdemeanor).