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NYS: Heightened monitoring in response to increase in false threats to schools


Mon, Apr 3rd 2023 10:00 am

Governor met with state public safety and education leaders to reinforce plans for student safety amid increased 'swatting' calls

√ New York State Police and State Education Department issue letter to school administrators across state instructing them to review preparedness and safety measures

Over the weekend, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced heightened monitoring in response to the recent increase in "swatting" calls, or the false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency, such as a bomb threat, hostage situation or homicide, across the state and country.

Hochul also met with state public safety and education leaders to coordinate preparedness and safety measures “to ensure all children remain safe in schools, and that all school districts and local police have the latest guidance on school safety protocols.”

She said, "Every child in New York deserves to feel safe at school, and every parent should trust that their child will return home at the end of every day. State and local law enforcement are conducting increased monitoring to make sure that all of our students are safe, and our first responders are always prepared in the event of an emergency. While these false threats of violence occur across the country, New York is taking proactive steps so that they do not become a reality."

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, "Providing a safe and secure learning environment for our children and teachers is our No. 1 priority. Rest assured, we proactively work with our agency partners on the school safety improvement team, as well as our local law enforcement partners, to support their efforts, and we will continue to do so. Let me be clear: Swatting incidents such as this, which disrupt our schools and divert valuable state resources, will not be tolerated, and we are committed to finding those responsible."

New York State Education Department Commissioner Dr. Betty A. Rosa said, "The safety of our students and school-based staff is our top priority. Every threat to school communities, whether founded or unfounded, is a deterrent to learning and mental health. Proactive and ongoing communication with schools and providing supports to keep school safety plans up to date is critical to our mission of ensuring educators have the resources necessary to appropriately and adequately respond to these threats, and that learning continues unabated. We will continue to work with Gov. Hochul and our partners in law enforcement at the state and local levels to provide guidance through these challenges. The dedication and resilience of educators and students across New York to rise above and persevere is inspirational."

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said, "We've said it over and over again: The safety of our school children is the top priority for educators throughout the state. We appreciate the governor's swift attention to this matter, and the ongoing commitment of law enforcement and school administrators to take any threats to our schools seriously. We must unite to do everything we can to keep our public schools safe and welcoming environments for all."

In addition to meeting with state public safety and education leaders, Hochul collaborated with the New York State Police and the State Education Department to issue a letter to school leaders across New York directing them to review preparedness and safety measures in the wake of Monday's school shooting in Nashville, and increased "swatting" calls.

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