Multiple schools receive unfounded reports of active shooters

Incidents may be part of national ‘swatting’ calls to spark fear, disrupt activities.

At least eight school districts in Ohio received reports of active shooters on Friday, and all were considered false or believed to be hoaxes.

Princeton High School in Sharonville was one of those districts. It closed after getting the call, and parents picked up students at a location nearby. Out of precaution, the middle school also closed for the day.

Princeton City Schools Superintendent Tom Burton confirmed that the incident was a hoax.

“After a thorough search of the building, there’s no active shooter. There never was an active shooter. It appears to be a part of a national hoax as we’ve received reports from other districts around the country as well as locally of similar reports,” Burton said. “We appreciate the quick response from the local law enforcement.”

According to investigators, Sharonville police received a transferred 911 from Cincinnati that allegedly came from inside the school. The caller claimed that there was an active shooter and there were up to 10 people injured.

Sharonville police said there will be a very thorough investigation into this incident in order to hold the person or persons responsible for their actions.

Out of precaution, Princeton High School’s football game Friday night against Fairfield was postponed to Saturday.

There was also an unfounded report of an active shooter at Belmont High School in Dayton.

“Dayton police received a call regarding an active shooter at Belmont High School,” read a tweet from the department. “There is NO active shooter, this appears to be a hoax.”

The high school was put on lockdown at 10:35 a.m. after police received the prank call, said Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli.

Catholic Central High School in Springfield also received an active shooter report that was unfounded.

“Springfield police have received a call of an active shooter at Catholic Central High School,” read a press release sent shortly after 11 a.m. “This is a false call. Officers are on the scene and in the school. Dayton has received a similar call, which has also proved to be false.”

Licking Valley Local Schools in Newark also received a false active shooter report.

Other districts that got hoax calls were Gairfield High School in Akron, Findlay High School in Cincinnati, Scott High School in Toledo and St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland.

The Ohio School Safety Center announced Friday afternoon it is working with the Statewide Terrorism Analysis and Crime Center as well as schools and local law enforcement to support their efforts in investigation of the active shooter threats made in Ohio schools.

This behavior appears to be happening nationally and is known as “swatting.” According to the Washington Post, more than a dozen schools in Minnesota endured hoax active shooter or mass casualty reports this week. Schools in at least 14 other states have reported hoax incidents as well.

Swatting is a form of weaponizing fear and involves making a claim that draws first responders and law enforcement to the location of the said incident, straining their resources. It sparks concern throughout communities, especially those that have previously endured actual active shooter and mass casualty incidents.

While law enforcement officials continuing investigating, there have been no reports of the source of recent swatting incidents.

WCPO contributed to this report.

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