Another area incident of so-called “swatting” unnecessarily struck fear and disrupted classes at Amesbury High School Monday when a telephone caller reported “a firearm near the school” and then the sound of gunshots.
Police Chief Craig Bailey and school Superintendent Elizabeth McAndrews said the Amesbury Police Department and other law enforcement agencies are investigating after a large police response was summoned to Amesbury High School after the regional emergency dispatch center received a threatening call at 11:42 a.m. from a male.
“This was an unwelcome disruption, but we are all thankful that there is no active threat or danger to our schools. I would particularly like to thank our families for adhering to protocol and trusting us with the safety of their children, staying away from the schools and allowing law enforcement to do their jobs safely,” said McAndrews.
Officials ordered a lockdown of the high school, “a secure mode activation for all other schools in Amesbury” and a large police and emergency response.
Police searched the high school and surrounding area, but soon received similar reports from multiple cities and towns in Massachusetts. After determining there was no danger, police turned the school day back over to school administrators. Several families dismissed their children for the day.
Mutual aid came from Newburyport, Salisbury, Merrimac, State Police and Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, a regional agency of which Amesbury is a member.
“Swatting calls like the one we received today use a tremendous amount of police and emergency resources, diverting those resources away from other potential emergencies,” Bailey said.
Less than two weeks ago, a similar call, falsely reporting an act of violence, sent officials scrambling in Groveland.