A number of school districts and police departments in Massachusetts reported threats of mass shootings this week in the days following a mass school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.
“A swatting call is a recent phenomenon where a call is made reporting a serious hostile incident, resulting in the response of public safety personnel,” said Foxboro Police, which was among one of the Massachusetts departments responding to calls this week. “Swatting calls are usually conducted by pranksters seeking to cause a disturbance intending to require a significant public safety response to an unsuspecting location. When public safety agencies receive such calls, it is difficult to determine the validity of the call, and they must respond following departmental procedures.”
The matter of making threats against schools has been growing in recent months. Iowa’s Department of Public Safety said about 30 incidents were reported last week.
“The design of it is to create confusion and chaos. It’s designed to draw a large law enforcement presence to a school even though there is no active threat. And by all accounts and for all intents and purposes, it appears thus far that is what Iowa experienced today,” Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan K. Bayens said.
A 2019 report by the Secret Service indicated that many school shooters made threats before their attacks.
“Most of the attackers communicated a prior threat to their target or communicated their intentions to carry out an attack. In many cases, someone observed a threatening communication or behavior but did not act, either out of fear, not believing the attacker, misjudging the immediacy or location, or believing they had dissuaded the attacker,” the report said.