Recent uptick in reported school threats can bring serious penalties

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — On Monday morning, Al Inzero noticed the extra police presence at Cheshire High School after a student threatened harm.

“I think there were about four or five squad cars when I dropped my son off today,” he said.

Police arrested that student, marking just the latest in more than a dozen scares in schools across Connecticut:

Ledyard – 17-year-old student arrested after allegedly saying he could buy an AR-15.

Colchester – 18-year-old former student arrested after allegedly implying his former high school is a target of an active shooter.

Wallingford – 2 cases, a 15-year-old arrested for allegedly writing a threat on a whiteboard and a 16-year-old arrested for allegedly yelling something into a classroom that scared students, sparking them to bar the door.

Related Content: PD: 2 arrested for threats at Sheehan High School in Wallingford

Durham – 17-year-old arrested after allegedly writing a threatening post on social media.

Old Saybrook – 18-year-old students arrested for alleged suspicious actions and comments.

Waterbury – 21-year-old arrested with fake gun after allegedly threatening to shoot up a school.

Burlington – 13-year-old arrested for an alleged threatening message.

Students across the state are on alert. Jack Donahue from Cheshire is one of them.

“It was really scary to think something like that could happen here in a nice town like Cheshire,” he said.

This was such a problem that back in 2016, lawmakers upped the penalties from misdemeanors to felonies for anyone threatening harm or violence against a school or at students.

Related Content: Cheshire Police arrest high school student after making threat

State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) was one of the driving forces behind the new tougher laws. He explained that while it’s difficult to count or even estimate the cost to cities for extra police protection out front of the schools and extra detectives to handle the investigations, it is equally hard to measure the psychological cost it takes on the school system.

“It has such dramatic and traumatic effect on our kids, on our teachers, and our parents who send their loved ones…With a rash of recent threats, I think we are far too easy in the application of this law,” Sen. Hwang said.

There is a softer side to the law, taking into account that kids are kids and will do foolish things. If they go the next five years without any criminal problems, the charges will be dropped from their records.