Parents Furious As Hoaxes Terrorize Schools: ‘No Way to Live’

In recent days, dozens of false gunshot threats have sent schools into lockdown, shaking parents with fear and panic.

The spate of “swatting” or hoax calls to law enforcement aimed at triggering a vigorous response from the police or SWAT team has caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“The FBI is aware of the numerous swatting incidents reporting an active shooter at a school,” a spokesman said news week. “The FBI takes beating very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk.”

On Monday, 10 schools across Virginia reported threats in the school districts of Charlottesville, Culpeper, Lynchburg, Arlington, Greensville and elsewhere, according to multiple outlets. Many of these alerts led to police action and lockdowns, but none proved credible.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, police announced Monday a gun call at Sandia High School and Friday a false report of violence at Volcano Vista High School.

Uvalde Monument
Here, people visit a memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in the town square of the city of Uvalde, May 29, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. In recent days, dozens of false gunshot threats have sent schools into lockdown, shaking parents with fear and panic.
Michael M. Santiago/Staff/Getty Images North America

Several schools across Colorado were swamped by a police and SWAT response Monday after false reports of active shooters, while similar threats devastated schools in North Carolina on Tuesday. Hoaxes hit Mainland High School in Florida on September 11th and Hollywood High School in California on September 13th.

Alexander Ooms, a father in Denver, Colorado, tweeted on Monday: “Today I received [a] “They say there’s an active shooter, I love you,” a text message from my child in a locked classroom as police cars pulled into their school, sirens wailing. They barricaded the classroom door. The SWAT team finally escorted them out.”

“It’s not a good way to live,” said Ooms.

In Texas, the state where a gunman massacred 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde four months ago, a series of false alarms sparked further outrage from parents online.

A prank call to Heights High School in Houston, Texas on September 13 reported that a gunman had shot dead ten people in a room. The school, which has 2,400 students, was locked down when police swept the campus and found nothing, the reported Houston Chronicle.

Video recorded by a student showed heavily armed officers entering a classroom and telling students to raise their hands.

“Everyone, hands up,” police said in the footage, which garnered 3.8 million views on Twitter, as a room full of children’s hands blew up. “No one breaks into this room, right?”

“No, sir,” answered a chorus of students.

The parent who shared the video tweeted, “There is a SWAT team going from classroom to classroom at Heights High School in Houston, Texas and I am absolutely terrified.”

“This is the new reality for our children who are just trying to learn and live one more day,” they added.

In another Heights High School video, officials ordered students to stand with their hands raised and face the wall.

California mom Kristen Johansen said her daughter was just starting junior high when the high school next door took a beating and she was suspended. A photo of her daughter, she showed how she hid under their desks with other students.

“I’m heartbroken that what was such a wonderful experience for her is now something she dreads,” Johansen said. “But most of all, I’m angry. Angry at the politicians, the lobbyists, the gun manufacturers, the tech executives, the social media influencers. They actively support and benefit from a toxic ecosystem whose main product is traumatized and murdered children.” Parents Furious As Hoaxes Terrorize Schools: ‘No Way to Live’

Rick Schindler

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