A spate of threats and false reports of shooters have been pouring into schools and colleges across the country including in North Dakota for months, raising concerns among law enforcement and elected leaders.
Schools in Pennsylvania were the latest targeted by so-called swatting. Computer-generated calls recently made claims about active shooters, but it was all a hoax. One day earlier, nearly 30 Massachusetts schools received fake threats.
Hoax reports of active shooter threats impacted numerous North Dakota schools including Bismarck and Mandan on March 2. A wave of active shooter hoax calls also hit North Dakota schools last October, impacting Bismarck, Minot, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Fargo, West Fargo, Williston and Watford City. Several South Dakota schools were hit during the same month.
School officials are already on edge amid a backdrop of deadly school shootings, the latest at a Christian school in Nashville.
Here is a look at the issues involved:
WHAT IS SWATTING?
Hundreds of cases of swatting occur annually, with some using caller ID spoofing to disguise their number. The goal is to get authorities, particularly a SWAT team, to respond to an address.
An FBI official said in November that they believe the wave of false threats focused on schools may be coming from outside of the country.
Officials said at the time that they had identified calls to about 250 colleges, 100 high schools and several junior high schools just since early June falsely reporting explosive devices being planted at the schools or saying that a shooting was imminent.
The FBI said in a statement that the agency was monitoring the situation as the swatting cases continued to wreak havoc at schools.
“While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention,” the statement said.
You can read the full article at the Bismark Tribune.