Eastern Iowa Schools Receive ‘Swatting’ Calls Tuesday Morning
It was an unfortunate start to classes Tuesday morning for schools in eastern Iowa. Several school districts and local police departments dealt with false calls about active shooters in different schools, or threats of an active shooter.
Clinton High School went on lockdown and local law enforcement responded to one of these calls Tuesday morning which led the school district to cancel classes at the high school for the day. But Clinton High and Clinton police weren't the only school district that received a similar threat.
Clinton Police To Reports Of Shoots Fired At High School
Around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, Clinton police and local law enforcement responded to a report of shots fired and an active shooter at Clinton High School.
The school was placed on lockdown and law enforcement from Clinton and throughout the county responded to the 911 call. After evacuating the high school, the school canceled classes for the day but will resume on Wednesday.
Clinton school officials and police found no evidence of shots being fired in the high school. Clinton police put out a press release following Tuesday's incident.
Clinton police believe this to be a 'swatting' call which is a false 9-1-1 call about an active shooter or shots fired at a school.
Clinton wasn't the only school district in eastern Iowa that received the same
Muscatine Schools Get A Swatting Call
The Muscatine Community School District and Muscatine police put out a press release saying that they too received a 'swatting' call around 8:25 a.m. on Tuesday morning about an active shooter at the high school. Roughly the same time Clinton police responded to Clinton High.
Muscatine school officials said the high school was "swatted" which they say is a fake threat from outside the state of Iowa to the Muscatine Police Department.
Muscatine police said in another press release that officers did respond to the threat at the high school and the school was placed on lockdown.
Muscatine police are asking for help with any information regarding the person or persons who made the false call.
Davenport, Iowa City, & More Get 'Swatted'
On Tuesday morning, Iowa City Community School District Superintendent Matt Degner sent an email to parents and staff about how they too received a 'swatting' call. The email says,
We have been made aware of anonymous “swatting calls” being made today to law enforcement agencies across the nation, including our district, referencing active shooter situations in schools. We have been in contact with our local law enforcement who have confirmed that the calls are not credible and have been told there is no reason for concern at this time. All students and staff are safe and learning continues as normal in our buildings.
Degner said that 'swatting' calls are calls made to law enforcement or directly to schools or other businesses or communal buildings where many people gather. These calls are false but are meant to create a large emergency response without there being one.
The Davenport Community School District said that Davenport Central High School was the target of a 'swatting' call to the Davenport police. The district said,
"As part of an overarching national trend which has made its way to Iowa schools, including schools in Muscatine and Clinton, Davenport Central was subject to a “swatting” hoax regarding a false report of a school shooting."
Davenport school officials believe this to be a part of a bigger national trend that has been spread through TikTok.
The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Department of Public Safety had received tips from about 30 different locations across the state being targeted by 'swatting' calls. Cedar Rapids, North Liberty, and Des Moines schools are on that list.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds addressed the situation throughout the state of Iowa today in a press conference:
Bettendorf Not Part Of 'Swatting' Hoax
Bettendorf Community School District Superintendent Dr. Michelle Morse responded to the many Iowa school districts that received 'swatting' calls Tuesday. Dr. Morse said that Bettendorf was not one of those school districts in her release to parents and staff.
This morning we learned that school districts across our state and nation are receiving anonymous “swatting calls” referencing active shooter situations in schools. Swatting calls are calls made to law enforcement or directly to schools, businesses, public libraries, or other entities where the public gathers. These calls are an attempt to trigger the dispatch of emergency services to a particular address.
There is typically a level of coordination with swatting calls as the intention is to cause the greatest amount of chaos. Knowing this, we are working closely with the Bettendorf Police Department to monitor the situation locally and statewide.
As of this email, no schools in our district have received any of the swatting calls being reported in other districts. If a threat were to be called into one of our schools, we would treat it as a real threat and follow emergency response procedures as every threat must be treated as real until law enforcement can conclude otherwise.
Effected or not, all Superintendents and school administrators throughout eastern Iowa and the state that have responded to the 'swatting' calls have echoed the same message today that the safety of staff and students are a top priority.