US

No longer seen as pranks, school threats prompt proposals for tougher penalties across US

Los Angeles-area students arrive to school at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Students are heading back to class a day after an emailed threat triggered a shutdown of the vast Los Angeles Unified School District.  (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles-area students arrive to school at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Students are heading back to class a day after an emailed threat triggered a shutdown of the vast Los Angeles Unified School District. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)  (The Associated Press)

Lawmakers in states around the U.S. are proposing stiffer penalties for people who make threats on schools at a time of fears over terrorism and mass shootings.

As demonstrated by Tuesday's shutdown of schools in Los Angeles, threats can cause large, costly disruptions and traumatize students even in cases that might involve hoaxes.

Michael Dorn is the executive director of the school safety nonprofit group Safe Havens International. He says there have been proposals in states across the U.S. in increase punishments, including those where school threats already can be prosecuted as felonies.

In Connecticut, state Sen. Tony Hwang said Tuesday that he intends to reintroduce a bill that would that would beef up the state's threatening laws. His son was locked down at his high school in October after a threat.