There has been a recent surge in swatting calls targeting schools across the country. Swatting calls are hoax calls in which a person calls 911 to falsely report an active shooting or bomb threat.
While many swatting calls target individuals at their homes, many are now being called in at schools, resulting in lockdowns and heavy police response.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced that three schools have been targets of swatting calls in the past week. Police responded to all of the calls and determined there was no threat after SWAT teams cleared the buildings.
On Monday, the Colorado Springs Police Department and the Denver Police Department both received swatting calls, including a “threat” at Denver East High School.
While the 911 calls were all determined to be hoaxes, they left parents and students shaken and concerned about their safety.
“It’s hard. It’s really hard. I want to go and hug him,” Maria Rivera Cervantes, a parent of one of the students, told KUSA. “He’s my only son, so it’s hard. I want to touch him and know he’s okay…but I can’t. They’re not letting me through. And it’s just sad and scary at the same time.”
The FBI field office in Denver told KKTV they are aware of “numerous swatting incidents” and said they are handled by state and local authorities.
“The FBI is aware of numerous swatting incidents wherein a report of an active shooter at a school is made. The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk and drains law enforcement resources,” the agency said in a statement to the news station.
“Most swatting cases are handled by local and state law enforcement agencies. The FBI often provides resources and guidance in these investigations and can recommend cases for federal prosecution. FBI Denver is working with local law enforcement on some of these swatting incidents involving schools in our region,” the statement continued.