State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) reminded the public that a 2016 law makes threatening schools a felony that may be punish able by jail time.

“The fact that we have seen an alarming increase in the number of school threats following the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas in Florida is disturbing,” Sen. Boucher said Monday, March 5. “Students have been some of the people making these threats, possibly because they think it is a joke. We need to remind them, and any other person considering making such a threat, that this is a serious crime in Connecticut and those making threats may go to jail.”

Sen. Boucher said Public Act 16-67 makes First Degree Threatening a class C felony if the intent of the threat is to cause the evacuation of a building or the grounds of a public or private preschool, school, or higher education institution. Class C felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, or both.

Second Degree Threatening is a Class D felony if the threatened person was in the building or on the grounds of a school facility during instructional hours or while the facility is being used for school- or institution-sponsored activities. Class D felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of $5,000, or both.

The penalties for school threats were strengthened in response to a large number hoax threats made in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.

“Threatening a school is not a joke,” she said. “In addition to the time and resources our law enforcement and first responders expend investigating these threats, there is a psychological and emotional toll on the parents, students, and school staff. Children should never be made to feel afraid of going to school and parents should not be made afraid to send them. Those who hurt our children’s school environment or who seek to bring fear to our communities will be treated like the criminals they are. They will be arrested, fingerprinted and processed by police. They may be jailed, go to trial, and sent to prison. They may have this felony on their record for the rest of their lives. This is no joke.”

Sen. Boucher said she hopes this is a sobering reminder to the public that Connecticut does not tolerate this behavior.

Sen. Boucher is co-chair of the legislature’s Education Committee. She represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.