HARRISBURG – Legislation that would create felony criminal penalties for falsely reporting emergency threats directed toward any educational facility in the Commonwealth has been introduced by Rep. Marla Brown (R-Lawrence).
“It is not acceptable to manipulate our law enforcement system to cause chaos, frighten students, terrorize families and put many people in harm’s way,” said Brown.
Brown noted that shortly before the Easter holiday this year, and following a tragic school shooting in Nashville, TN, a person terrorized communities in our region including New Castle High School, with a series of false reports to law enforcement of active school shootings.
“Our law enforcement officers responded swiftly and overwhelmingly to these incidents to ensure the safety of our students,” said Brown. “Making false reports with such wide-ranging impact should be treated as a felony.”
There are potential crimes that could apply to this situation; however, those crimes do not rise to the level of a felony despite the hundreds of victims, thousands of dollars in costs searching the location, and the school day disruption because of this targeting of schools. Studies have shown that fake threats can greatly affect student absentee rates.
House Bill 1229
has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Representative Marla Brown
9th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner
717.260.6437 (office), 717.497.8478 (cell)