False reports of shootings plague schools nationwide

Several Louisiana schools received false reports of an active shooter Thursday.

No schools in Lincoln Parish received a call in what is being called a wide-scale hoax involving robocalls sent to many schools nationwide including Louisiana.

Schools in at least 15 states, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, have reported “swatting” incidents since September 13.

Lincoln Parish Sheriff Stephen Williams said, “We have not received one of the calls experienced in other parishes, but we have alerted all our personnel regarding the fake calls.”  

Ouachita Parish schools were locked down for a short time Thursday after Neville High School received one of the calls falsely reporting a shooting. After authorities quickly checked area schools, operations resumed.

Authorities in Vernon Parish sent out a notice on social media Thursday stating, “The Leesville Police received a call in reference to an active shooter at the Leesville High School. Officers are on scene and there is NO active shooter/shooting at Leesville High School.”

The Vernon Parish School Board later released a statement that “thorough investigation by local law enforcement” determined no Vernon Parish school was ever at risk.      

The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office also said a false threat at Westgate High School was communicated through an automated phone call.

Lincoln Parish schools are staffed by school resource officers from the sheriff’s office. Williams said, “We are ready and trained to respond to any active shooter situations. All our staff ran through about two weeks of training before school started. The training was conducted over multiple days and included many potential scenarios.”

Williams said the training included use of Simunition, a type of non-lethal training ammunition to make the scenarios as realistic as possible.

Louisiana schools receiving the bogus calls Thursday included Abbeville High, Lake Arthur High, Berwick Jr. High, Berwick High, Delcambre High, DeRidder High, Gueydan High, Jennings High, Leesville High, Mansfield High, Merryville High, Neville High School in Monroe, New Iberia High, Rayne High David Thibodaux Stem Academy in Lafayette and Westgate High School.

Some news accounts have reported the calls originated from another country, but local officials could not verify their origin.