February 25, 2016
Rep. William Tong (D-Stamford, Darien), House chairman of the Judiciary Committee, joined by Sen. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) and a family from Newtown, on Thursday urged passage of legislation he has introduced for making schools safer in Connecticut.
The legislation, Zero-Tolerance Safe School Environment Act (SB 246), increases the penalties for when a threat involves a preschool, K-12 school or an institution of higher education. The bill is similar to legislation championed last year by Sen. Hwang.
Following a wave of bomb threats made recently at schools across the state, Tong at a press conference Thursday urged his colleagues to pass the legislation as soon as possible.
“There should be zero tolerance for this kind of behavior, and we have to do everything we can to try to prevent it,” Tong said. “This legislation should send a crystal clear message – if you threaten our schools and our kids and our teachers, we are going to come down hard on you,” he said.
“These threats of violence against schools highlight the need to get tougher,” said Hwang, a co-sponsor of Tong’s legislation. “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.”
Earlier this month, Stamford Academy was evacuated after school officials received a bomb threat. In the same week, Stamford High School and four other schools in Hartford, Bristol and West Haven were evacuated because of threatening phone calls. Police are investigating.