Coleman Votes for Bill Approved by Senate to Combat Recent Trend of Hoax Threats at Local Schools

HARRISBURG – Following a string of local school closings due to hoax threat reports, Sen. Jarrett Coleman (R-16) today voted for and the state Senate approved legislation to enhance criminal penalties for those convicted of making false threats against schools and higher education institutions.

“The sick people who submit these false threats should face significant repercussions and have to pay – figuratively and literally – for their crime,” Coleman said. “Students and teachers should be able to focus their attention on learning without being distracted by threats of violence.”

Saucon Valley School District in late March closed schools for two days due to bomb threats. Multiple threats led to lockdowns at three Allentown schools and the closure of Lehigh Career & Technical Institute in late 2022. A shooting threat at Orefield Middle School led Parkland School District to shut down buildings around the same time.

“Anonymous tiplines have been weaponized against our school districts,” Coleman said. “Given the prevalence and frequency of hoax threats our educational institutions are receiving, it’s time to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes face serious consequences for their actions.”

In a direct effort to counteract this trend, Senate Bill 975 would enhance the penalty for making a false report of a terrorist threat to a school, college, university or other higher education institution. The crime now would be classified as a third-degree felony and the person would face imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine of up to $15,000.

The bill also would enable courts to compel the criminal to pay for costs associated with the false terrorist threat report. The criminal could be held responsible for paying for salaries and wages, including overtime pay, for police, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, school district staff and other government employees who responded to the threat. Courts also could force the criminal to pay for the salaries and wages for teachers, administrators or other school or higher education institution employees who were paid despite the diversion.

VIDEO: Coleman spoke in the Senate in favor of the bill to strengthen penalties for hoax threats against school districts and higher education institutions.

Senate Bill 975 now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Residents who want to learn more about Coleman can visit his website at, follow him on Facebook at and sign up for email newsletters at

CONTACT: Leo Knepper

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