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Cuomo orders stepped-up State Police patrols following copycat school violence threats

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a written statement, says there is no tolerance in New York State for threats of violence against schools, real or hoax. Arrests have been made after "copycat threats" were reported in two Western New York school districts, two days after a shooter opened fire at a Florida High School.

According to the governor's office, the copycat threats happened Friday morning, targeting Chautauqua Lake School District and Randolph Academy in Cattaraugus County. A student was arrested in both cases. 

Cuomo has ordered State Police to increase patrols around schools in light of the threats, which came following a gun attack in Parkland, Florida. 

His statement reads as follows: "The school shooting in Florida continues to reverberate across the country. This morning, in two schools in Upstate New York, we had what appears to be "copycat" threats made by students threatening violence and saying they would bring guns to schools. These two matters are under control. The schools involved were the Chautauqua Lake School District and the Randolph Academy in Cattaraugus County. Both students are in police custody. State Police are on site, and the schools are functioning once again after a brief closure this morning. 

"While the emotion, facts and consequences of yet another brutal gun attack continue to be processed, we must take a firm stand against any "copycat" actors. The State of New York has no tolerance for threats of violence in our school system. They will be handled immediately and aggressively. There are serious legal consequences for any person posing a threat whether or not they intend to actually execute upon that threat. A student should know there is nothing humorous about these situations and the consequences are most severe. 

"While this morning's incidents have been resolved, the school system and local police departments remain on full alert. Out of an abundance of caution, I am ordering the State Police to increase its patrols around schools statewide."

Meanwhile, the Niagara Wheatfield School District acknowledged on its website Friday that police were investigating an unsubstantiated claim of what was described as an "alarming social media post."

The district explained that it operates every day on a lockout basis but police would increase its presence for the remainder of the day.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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