COLUMBUS, Ohio — A false active shooter call prompted students at Licking Valley High School to barricade their classrooms on Friday.
Parents frantically rushed to the school and dozens of law enforcement officers were called to the school.
There was never a gunman.
This incident is one of several "swatting" calls that impacted schools in Ohio on Friday. False reports of an active school shooter were also called into police agencies in other states.
What is swatting?
Swatting is a prank call made in an attempt to trigger a large law enforcement response to a particular address.
Swatting not only wastes resources, but can be traumatizing for the victim of the harassment and has ended in death. A man in Tennessee died by heart attack in 2020 when police swarmed his home after someone called in a fake homicide and bomb threat at his address.
Authorities in Minnesota confirmed at least 14 schools received false active shooter reports Wednesday. Louisiana police said at least 13 schools in the state on Thursday were the target of swatting calls.
Similar incidents have been reported in Colorado, Arkansas, California, Florida, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia since the beginning of the 2022 school year.
The string of false reports has renewed attention on school safety and effective communication with parents. More parents and students are becoming fearful of gun violence months after a gunman fatally shot 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
While law enforcement officials have deemed these threats of violence “hoaxes,” school days are becoming disrupted, and lockdowns are being prompted out of an abundance of caution.