Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday directed State Police to increase patrols around schools statewide after officials fielded threats of copycat violence at three western New York schools two days after a mass school shooting in Florida.
Cuomo said the incidents appeared to be “‘copycat’ threats made by students threatening violence and saying they would bring guns to schools.”
No violence occurred and the suspects were taken into police custody.
According to news media reports, State Troopers responded to a warning involving Chautauqua Lake Central School in Mayville in the very southwest corner of the state and the Ashville BOCES campus some 12 miles south.
Both schools went into “lockout,” but that was lifted by midmorning, according to the Jamestown Post-Journal. A 17-year-old student at Chautauqua Lake and a 15-year-old at Ashville were taken into custody for mental-health evaluations, troopers told the newspaper.
“The threat was immediately identified and contained,” the Chautauqua Lake school district said on its website.
Separately, a threat was received at Randolph Academy in Cattaraugus County, according to Cuomo’s office and media reports. There too, the school went into lockout procedures but soon was reopened.
Cuomo’s office wouldn’t say exactly how or how many troopers would be deployed to increase patrols statewide, nor how long the watch would continue, citing safety concerns. In a statement, Cuomo said the state would take a “firm stand” against copycat threats.
“There are serious legal consequences for any person posing a threat whether or not they intend to actually execute upon that threat,” said Cuomo, a Democrat.
“A student should know there is nothing humorous about these situations and the consequences are most severe,” he said.