Just today (Sept. 23), there have been numerous false threats of active shooters that have happened at K-12 schools across the state of Ohio, and these incidents appear to be a part of a larger national trend.
The Chimes has compiled a list of Ohio K-12 schools and districts that have been affected by hoax active shooter threats today (and this list will be updated as new information becomes available):
On Sept. 16 there were also hoax active shooter incidents reported by Waite High School and Bowsher High School in the Toledo Public School District.
Most of these incidents appear to have begun with a call to either local 911 dispatchers or the local police department saying that there was an active shooter at these schools, and sometimes the calls stated that there were already multiple injured people at the scene. All of these calls turned out to be unsubstantiated, and there are currently no reports from any of the affected schools saying that anyone has been injured.
According to an article by the Akron Beacon Journal on these incidents, the phone calls that were made are called “swatting-type” calls: “‘Swatting’ is making a hoax call to law enforcement to deliberately cause a large police or SWAT team response. Sometimes, an individual does it to single out someone specific, but the calls can also be done in waves as a trend to seemingly random targets.”
Princeton City Schools Superintendent Tom Burton, in an interview with news station WCPO9 Cincinnati, reported that these incidents appear to be a part of a “national hoax” that he was notified of through “reports from other districts around the country” and local law enforcement officers.
Also within the past two months there have been multiple instances of hoax bomb threats in Ohio K-12 schools. There were two bomb threats in Vinton County schools on Sept. 14, and on Sept. 20 there was a bomb threat at Poland Seminary High School. In August there were also bomb threats made to Franklin City Schools, as well as to Van Wert High School and Wapakoneta High School.
All of these incidents are currently being investigated by local and state police, and those departments (in conjunction with the K-12 schools and districts) who have not yet released updates on the investigations plan to release more details sometime soon.
If you or someone you know hears about a violent threat being made against an academic institution in Ohio, an article written by Spectrum News 1 outlines what the Ohio School Safety Center recommends to do: “The OSSC … takes all threats to schools seriously … The OSSC encourages report[ing] threats and concerns of safety through the school’s anonymous reporting system, directly to local law enforcement or through the use of the state’s Safer Ohio School Tip Line at (844)-723-3764.”
For more updated information on how these Ohio hoax active shooter and bomb threats to K-12 schools may connect with national active shooter and bomb threat hoax trends in schools, we recommend reading this article by USA Today.