MARCY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – State Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon were at Marcy Elementary School on Monday, April 10 to continue their push for bills introduced to fight “swatting.”
Over the last two weeks, several schools in Oneida, Herkimer and Otsego Counties have been hit with swatting – making a false and threatening phone call to bring many police officers to an area. Across New York State, over 50 schools have received false threats in the last few weeks.
Flanked by Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, Assemblyman Brian Miller of New Hartford, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, both Griffo and Buttenschon announced that they have introduced legislation to combat swatters.
The two separate bills – which have been introduced to the state Senate and Assembly since 2018 – would make the crime of first-degree making a threat of mass violence a felony, applying to anyone 18 or older. That crime would carry with it a $35,000 fine and a sentence of three years or more in prison.
Second-degree Making a Threat of Mass Violence will apply to anyone under the age of 18. If found guilty, that carries the same fine, but a mandatory sentence of 10 days in a juvenile facility. If the perpetrator is over 18, though, they would spend 100 days in a specialized secure detention facility.
“With two weeks of back-to-back false threats of violence at schools throughout New York State, we must ensure that there are stiff and significant penalties upon those responsible for them,” Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said in a statement. “Not only are we diverting massive amounts of police resources to these fake calls, but we are also placing an incredible amount of fear upon our children, our parents, and our teachers – all of which greatly and negatively affects their mental health.”