'Swatting' Hoax Threats Send Multiple Massachusetts School Into Lockdowns

Multiple Massachusetts schools have been forced into lockdowns because of fake gun and bomb threats, otherwise known as "swatting" incidents, over the past four days. 

Duxbury Fire respond to a reported active shooter at Duxbury High on Tuesday, Feb. 14

Duxbury Fire respond to a reported active shooter at Duxbury High on Tuesday, Feb. 14

Photo Credit: Duxbury Fire PIO on Facebook

"Swatting" is defined as "the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address," according to Oxford Language. 

These incidents have seen an uptick across the Commonwealth in the wake of the deadly shooting at the Michigan State University on Monday, Feb. 13 in which three students perished.

The "swatting" incidents in Massachusetts have occurred at the following schools:

On Monday, Feb. 13:

  • Charlestown High School, according to NBC10 Boston 
  • East Boston High School, also according to NBC10 Boston 
  • Amesbury High School got reports of shots fire around 11:45 a.m., according to Amesbury Police and as previously reported by Daily Voice
  • Chelmsford High School got a threat around 12:17 p.m., according to Chelmsford Police

On Tuesday, Feb. 14:

  • Schools in Springfield, Great Barrington and Greenfield all got shooting/bomb threats between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., according to Massachusetts State Police (MSP)
  • Cohasset Middle High School got a threat around 10:15 a.m., per Cohasset Police on Twitter
  • Chicopee High School got a threat per Chicopee Public Schools on Facebook and as previously reported by Daily Voice
  • Middlesex School in Concord got a threat around 10:15 a.m, according to Concord Police
  • Clinton Public Schools got a threat around 10:20 a.m., according to Clinton Public Schools
  • Dedham Public Schools got a threat around 11 a.m, according to Dedham Police on Twitter
  • Schools in Duxbury, Edgartown, Harwich and Fall River got shooting/bomb threats between 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m., according to MSP
  • Ipswich High School and Middle School got threats about an armed individual around 11:41 a.m., according to Ipswich Police 
  • Hingham High School, according to Hingham Police on Twitter

On Wednesday, Feb. 15:

  • Lowell High School got threats of an active shooter shortly before noon, according to the Lowell Police Department
  • Salem High School received a hoax swatting call, according to a Salem Police Department announcement made around 1:30 p.m.
  • Gloucester High School was threatened with reports of an active shooter, leading to a shelter-in-place order, according to police Chief Ed Conley on Twitter
  • Northampton High School got a threat and was forced to "shelter in place," according to Western Mass News
  • Norton High School received a threat around 12:20 p.m. necessitating a lockdown, according to a Norton Police Facebook post 
  • Lexington police received a threat from a caller saying he was at a Lexington school and intended to do harm to students and staff around 11:45 a.m., according to a Tweet from the Lexington Police Department
  • New Bedford received hoax threats, according to WBZ NewsRadio
  • Saugus High School received a threat shortly after 1:00 p.m. from a person claiming to have a firearm and intending to harm those at the school, according to the Saugus Police Department
  • Gloucester High School received a threat of an active shooter around 12:30 p.m., according to the Gloucester Police Department
  • Ludlow High School got a threat of a person with a bomb sitting outside the school around 11:50 a.m., according to Ludlow Police on Facebook
  • Saugus High School got a threat about a man with a gun who intended on harming the school just after 1 p.m., according to Saugus Police
  • Sky View Middle School in Leominster was placed on lockdown after getting a threat around 12:30 p.m., according to Leominster Police on Facebook

On Thursday, Feb. 16: 

  • A potentially threatening message was heard through a student's Chromebook around 9:30 a.m. at Timothy Grammar School in Methuen, according to Methuen Public Schools. Both Timothy Grammar and Methuan High School received orders to shelter in place until it was determined that the audio message was not a threat. 

On Friday, Feb. 17: 

State Police said every school they responded to was cleared and the threats were determined to be hoax calls. Every incident is reported to the State Police Commonwealth Fusion Center who investigates the origin of each threat. 

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