Westport Lockdown: Part Of Nationwide Rise In Fake Threats

In the aftermath of this morning’s lockdown at Staples High School, and a “shelter in place” order at Bedford Middle School, superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice provided this information:

This morning the Westport Police received a phone call indicating a potential threat at Staples High School. Although we have since learned that multiple schools across the state received the same threat, at the time, the response protocol warranted a thorough onsite evaluation of Staples, including an armed room by room threat assessment.

The incident began at 9:10 a.m. Westport’s Emergency Communications Center received a call from a person reporting an active shooter inside Staples High School.

The patrol and detective divisions as well as officers in administrative rolls immediately went to the school. As officers were responding they contacted the School Resource Officer, who said there was no indication of a problem at the location.

Despite the possibility of a hoax, the high school was placed on lockdown. Police proceeded as if there was an active threat.

Because police weapons were visible to students and staff, teachers were asked to focus on the social/emotional needs of students for the rest of the day. Emotional support was available for anyone who needed it.

Scarice added, “While this evaluation was conducted, all of the other schools in Westport were supported with an onsite police presence and put into place appropriate safety protocols.

“We are grateful for the swift response of our police department and the communication between the schools and WPD in handling this matter.

Nearly an hour after Staples High School went into lockdown this morning, an ambulance and police car sat outside the building. (Photo/Jim Honeycutt)

Connecticut is not the only state targeted for fake threats.

According to a Washington Post article last month — sent today to “06880” by reader Tracy Porosoff — “a troubling scenario” is happening in schools across the country. The story begins:

A call comes in about a shooting at the school. Someone has a gun. Police respond, only to discover the report was a hoax.

More than a dozen schools in Minnesota were targeted with “swatting” incidents, reports of a false shooter or mass-casualty event. Threats in Denver forced the city to shut down all 25 of its public library branches, and an area high school to cancel classes Wednesday amid a surge of hoaxes reported at schools across the state. A Texas teen was arrested for calling in a fake threat to a campus as a “joke,” prompting a warning from Fort Worth police against school hoaxes.

The calls are part of a trend that is disrupting school days, prompting lockdowns and further traumatizing communities already on edge. Although these threats are fake, the menace of real violence looms just months after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at a Uvalde, Tex., elementary school…

Schools in 14 states — Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — have reported swatting incidents since Sept. 13, according to the national group of school resource officers.

Click here for the full Washington Post story.

4 responses to “Westport Lockdown: Part Of Nationwide Rise In Fake Threats

  1. Thomas W Jendrock

    Hi, does our police department notify the FBI to have them investigate to find the identity of the individuals making the false statements and endangering the public? They should be caught, charged, convicted and incarcerated for at least several years.

  2. While the ordeal had to have been terrifying for students, teachers, parents, administrators, staff, and first responders alike, I’m relieved to know that no one was harmed today. I hope investigators will discover the identity of the “swatter” in the hope it discourages others from thinking about putting our community, or any community, in a similar situation. As much as a lone individual with poor judgement and a telephone can wreak havoc across many communities, I’m thankful everyone gets to return home to their loved ones this evening.

  3. Many officers throughout CT were attending the funeral for Officers Demonte and Hamzy in Bristol, CT, the two officers who were ambushed Oct 12th while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

    Question: Is it possible some disturbed individual was trying to terrorize schools across CT thinking Police Depts across the state were short staffed and unavailable to respond? News12CT claims at least nine schools were contacted and according to NBC Connecticut: “officials estimated 17 Connecticut schools received threats of active shooters throughout the morning.”

  4. Lol. Stupid comment!

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