Swatting House Bill 462: Effective April 3, 2023
In today’s age of school safety, more and more schools and law enforcement find themselves encountering false phone-in threats or social media screenshots of threats. Effective April 3, 2023, the newly passed Ohio House Bill 462, will allow prosecutors to issue a fourth-degree felony charge of swatting against those who deliberately call or text law enforcement with false school threats. If found guilty, the offender can be required to pay back the fees associated with law enforcement going to the false threat. While years ago, some bad actors may have viewed such actions as a prank, in today’s day and age with school safety there are heightened precautions with investigating false threats with serious lawful consequences. We ask families to discuss the new felony, criminal repercussions with their student(s) and encourage them also to have their student tell a trusted adult if they encounter a safety concern online.
As we say often in the South-Western City School District (SWCSD), “see something, say something” when it comes to reporting safety issues, threats, or concerns. In addition to law enforcement reporting, you can also call or text the anonymous hotline at 844-SAFER-OH. Ohio's school safety tip line gives students, parents, teachers and school administrators a way to anonymously report student safety threats to school officials and law enforcement officers. The tip line serves our community 24 hours a day and the call center guarantees the anonymity of the person who calls or texts the Ohio School Safety Center has a 24/7 hotline.
When it comes to school safety, educators, students, and parents/guardians all have a role to play in reporting suspicious behavior - in person or electronically - and we thank you for your support in helping to keep our schools safe each day.