State lawmakers introduce bill to address false reports of school shootings

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ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State lawmakers are joining the fight against swatting, false reports of a shooting made bring police to a school or other location. Lawmakers introduced a bill that would heighten the penalty for false calls from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Last week alone, 36 schools across the state including Brockport and Brighton Schools were targeted with false reports of an active shooter. On Tuesday, Spencerport Schools were also targeted even though students were on Spring break.

Federal lawmakers are also demanding action. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer came to Brockport High School to call for federal funding to fight swatting calls against schools. He also called on the FBI to investigate the false reports locally and statewide.

State Senator Jim Tedisco, a Republican of the Capital District, said he’s sponsoring the bill because of how damaging swatting can be.

“Anytime you’re impacting our most vulnerable population, that’s a serious matter,” Tedisco said. “I get parents calling me, saying after this happens for two or three days I don’t send my kids to school and I’m thinking about homeschooling now so this is getting serious.”

Local, state, and federal authorities are investigating the swatting calls in the Rochester suburbs. The calls come after three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a school in Nashville, Tenn.