Ontario High School has become the latest victim of "swatting," a term I was unfamiliar with until today. According to the dictionary, swatting means "making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to get large numbers of armed police officers to a certain address."
Swatting is against the law and is dangerous. If many emergency services go to a location because of a false report, they are unavailable for someone who may desperately need them. It is also costly, and in California, swatters are responsible for paying the entire cost, which is often over $10,000.
The Ontario High School incident was part of a more significant problem. Today, numerous schools in Southern Oregon had swatting incidents that resulted in lockdowns. We can only imagine that there will be copycat incidents throughout neighboring states, including Idaho, in the coming days. That doesn't mean that the schools should take the threats less seriously. It should, however, concern us as parents for a "boy that cried wolf" situation happening. You would hate for the police departments to be so used to getting swatting calls that they don't take a real call seriously. That is another reason that swatting is dangerous, not just a funny prank costing taxpayers money. At one point today, the Douglas County School District had locked down several schools while the Sheriff's Department tried to clear each one. This is resulting in panic among students and parents in the area.
Tonight would be an excellent night to discuss these things with your junior high and high school students so that this behavior doesn't start in the Treasure Valley.
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