Increase in school threats, hoaxes causing students, parents to question safety

Massachusetts

There’s been a significant increase in hoax threats at schools across the country.

Chicopee, Palmer, and Ludlow schools have all had to deal with hoax threats this school year. Police say if you’re caught making or promoting these hoaxes, you will be charged and prosecuted.

Chicopee Comprehensive High School was the site of one of numerous hoax threats we’ve seen in western Massachusetts and across the country.

The FBI said hoax threats at schools and other public places tripled over this five year period.

It was all hands on deck for Chicopee police responding to the threat at Chicopee Comp. last August.

“You could see in the parents faces the fear,” Chicopee Police spokesman Officer Mike Wilk told 22News. “With the things that have been going on across the country with the shootings, this is real. No matter how much it turned out to be a hoax. During this event, this was real to these people.”

The hoax at Chicopee Comp. sent students, parents, and faculty into a panic on the first Friday of the school year. The school was on lockdown for much of the afternoon before law enforcement determined the report of a suspicious person inside the school was a hoax.

The 16-year-old student who falsely reported a suspicious person was criminally charged.

In addition to the stress and anxiety the hoax caused for students and loved ones, Wilk said the police response cost more than $10,000.

A conviction for making a hoax threat carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

If you see or hear a threat, it should be reported to the police or a school administrator immediately.

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