Police have been responding to reports of active shooters at schools a lot lately. Multiple times last week across several different states in fact. That is the way they are trained to respond but there is one major issue:
There were no actual shooters.
These types of incidents are triggered by false reports of gunmen on school campuses and the false reports were made on purpose. This is referred to as “swatting.”
What is swatting?
Swatting is a “prank call” in which the goal is to get as large of a police response as possible. Hence the “SWAT” part of the name. Usually, this is done by alleging that there is some kind of active shooter or bomb in the area. This started as a gaming fad but has quickly turned into a school problem.
Dozens of schools have been victims of the trend this year. Typically, the incident ends with significant police response and a lot of worried parents showing up at the school. Louisiana, Minnesota, Colorado, Arkansas, California, Florida, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, and Ohio have all reported incidents of swatting in their schools.
After false active shooter reports in Ohio, the Cleveland FBI issued a strong warning to those who would consider making a swatting call themselves by reminding people that it is a federal crime with potential prison time attached.
On the heels of the Uvalde shooting and its much-criticized police response law enforcement around the country examined their protocols for responding to shootings but likely in anticipation of using them in real situations as opposed to pranks.