Parents Furious as Shooting Hoaxes Terrorize Schools: 'No Way to Live'

Over the past several days, dozens of false shooting threats have sent schools into lockdown and rocked parents with fear and panic.

The spate of "swatting," or hoax calls to law enforcement designed to trigger a forceful police or SWAT team response, has prompted attention from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

"The FBI is aware of the numerous swatting incidents wherein a report of an active shooter at a school is made," a spokesperson told Newsweek. "The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk."

On Monday, 10 schools across Virginia reported threats in the school districts of Charlottesville, Culpeper, Lynchburg, Arlington, Greensville and elsewhere, according to multiple outlets. Many of these alarms led to police responses and lockdowns, but none were found to be credible.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, police announced a call about a weapon at Sandia High School on Monday and a false report of violence at Volcano Vista High School on Friday.

Uvalde Memorial
Here, people visit a memorial for the victims of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting at the City of Uvalde Town Square on May 29, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Over the past several days, dozens of false shooting threats have sent schools into lockdown and rocked parents with fear and panic. Michael M. Santiago / Staff/Getty Images North America

Multiple schools across Colorado were swarmed with a police and SWAT response after false active shooter reports on Monday, while similar threats ravaged North Carolina schools on Tuesday. Hoaxes struck Mainland High School in Florida on September 11 and Hollywood High School in California on September 13.

Alexander Ooms, a father in Denver, Colorado, tweeted on Monday, "Today I got [a] 'they say there is an active shooter, I love you guys' text from my child in a locked classroom as cop cars with sirens blaring descended on their school. They barricaded the classroom door. SWAT team eventually escorted them out."

"This is no way to live," said Ooms.

In Texas, the state where a gunman massacred 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde four months ago, a string of false alarms ignited further outrage from parents online.

A hoax call to Heights High School in Houston, Texas, on September 13 reported that a gunman had shot 10 people in a room. The school of 2,400 students went into lockdown as police swept the campus and found nothing, reported the Houston Chronicle.

Video taken by a student showed heavily armed officers entering a classroom and directing students to put their hands up.

"Everybody, hands up," said police in the footage with 3.8 million views on Twitter, as a roomful of children's hands went into the air. "Nobody breaking into this room, right?"

"No, sir," answered a chorus of students.

The parent who circulated the video tweeted, "There is a SWAT team going classroom to classroom at Heights High School in Houston Texas and I am scared s**tless."

"This is the new reality for our kids who are just trying to learn and live another day," they added.

In another video from Heights High School, officers ordered students to stand with their hands raised and face the wall.

California Mom Kristen Johansen said her daughter had just started junior high when the next-door high school was swatted and she went into lockdown. A photo from her daughter showed her hiding together with other students under their desks.

"I am heartbroken that what was such a wonderful experience for her is now something she fears," said Johansen. "But most of all I'm angry. Angry at the politicians, the lobbyists, the gun manufacturers, the tech execs, the social media influencers. They actively support and profit from a toxic ecosystem whose primary product is traumatized and murdered children."