School Bomb Threats Are A Felony
Governor Pataki signed legislation into law on October 19, 1999 making it a Class E felony for anyone to issue a false bomb threat directed toward a school in New York State. This law also includes the crime of falsely reporting an incident of an explosion, fire, or the release of a hazardous substance. Individuals convicted of issuing a bomb threat face felony criminal prosecution, as well as a one-year suspension of their driver's license. Persons may face youthful offender or juvenile delinquency adjudication. This new law directs that any bomb threat or falsely reporting an incident unrelated to school grounds is now a Class A misdemeanor. The new law takes effect on December 1, 1999.
Related legislation was signed this past summer permitting municipalities, fire districts, and other emergency service providers to seek restitution costs associated with their response to a bomb threat on school grounds. The legislation allows for up to $10,000 in restitution to be paid by any individual convicted of reporting a false incident or bomb, and up to $5,000 to be paid by the parents of a child who makes a false report. Parents may make a hardship application to the Court for judgements over $500. This law took effect in July 1999.
Hundreds of hours of class time have been lost in New York State schools as a direct result of bomb threats. Over 600 such threats were called into schools during the 1998-1999 Spring semester alone. As of the middle of October, close to 50 bomb threats had already been directed at schools for the 1999-2000 school year. This new legislation sends a clear message that this behavior must not be tolerated or accepted.
Questions regarding school bomb threat issues may be directed to Laura Sahr, Emergency Planning Liaison, at 518-474-3906 or firstname.lastname@example.org.