Dan Gleiter / PennLive
Pennsylvania State Police investigate wave of false threats called into Pennsylvania schools
Pennsylvania schools were hit by a series of false active shooter and bomb threats on Wednesday, leading to multiple schools going into lockdown and/or evacuating. The calls, which police believe might have been computer-generated, sparked a major response from police and emergency services across the state.
Pennsylvania State Police responded to reports from 911 centers statewide, and local law enforcement agencies also received calls about the threats. The State Police barracks in Hollidaysburg tweeted those threats came from “robo-callers.”
However, State Police Communications Director Myles Snyder did not know if that was case statewide.
“I do not have the reports for every instance that occurred, especially that was handled by local law enforcement,” he said. “So I can’t speak to them all being robo-calls.”
PSP Hollidaysburg and Rockview stations are responding to active shooter threats at local schools that have been called in by telephone. We are treating each incident with standard law enforcement protocols. However, the calls are believed to be computer generated swatting calls
— Troopers Christopher Fox and Jacob Rhymestine (@PSPTroopGPIO) March 29, 2023
The extent of the calls remains unclear, and it is not yet known exactly how many schools were affected. Schools in Allegheny, Blair, Centre, and Northampton County were reported to have received calls.
“I can’t give you an exact count because [State Police] didn’t respond to all of them. I don’t have a number of those responded to by municipal law enforcement,” Snyder said.
While the threats were ultimately determined to be false, they caused significant disruptions to school activities.
The Educators’ School Safety Network reported a 600% surge in school threats nationwide between 2021 and 2022. Such threats not only disrupt school activities but also strain police and emergency services resources, potentially leaving communities vulnerable to actual emergencies.
Pennsylvania State Police stated the investigation into Monday’s incident is ongoing, and it is not yet clear who may be responsible for the false threats.
This comes just two days after six people lost their lives during a shooting at a Christian school in Nashville.