Iowa schools work with law enforcement amid ‘swatting calls’

Schools across the state are dealing with swatting calls, but officials say there are no active threats to any schools in Iowa.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 8:53 AM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Schools in Iowa and across the nation are in communication with police regarding “swatting calls,” or fake threats, being made Tuesday morning.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, Iowa Department of Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said these calls are fake and designed to create chaos. He said no threats have been deemed imminent.

Officials confirmed the calls happened in Cedar Rapids, North Liberty, Iowa City, Tiffin, Keokuk, Decorah, Mason City, Fort Madison, Clinton, Davenport, Muscatine, and in Cerro Gordo, Story and Polk Counties.

In a letter sent to Iowa City School District families and staff, Iowa City Schools’ Superintendent Matt Degner said all students and staff are safe and learning continues as normal.

“We have been made aware of anonymous “swatting calls” being made today to law enforcement agencies across the nation, including our district, referencing active shooter situations in schools,” Degner said in the letter. “We have been in contact with our local law enforcement who have confirmed that the calls are not credible and have been told there is no reason for concern at this time. All students and staff are safe and learning continues as normal in our buildings.”

In Dubuque, Superintendent Amy Hawkins released a statement saying Dubuque Schools continue to maintain normal operations across the district.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said it received a “swatting call” at Clear Creek Amana High School that was not credible. The sheriff’s office said the call did not originate from a caller in Iowa.

The Keokuk Police Department said officers cleared a school in Keokuk, and confirmed “swatting calls” in Central Lee. Police said there is no threat at this time, but they’re providing extra patrols.

However, Clinton High School canceled classes on Tuesday over the “swatting calls.”

Police investigated the reports and found no sign of any gunshots having been fired. The school said students sheltered in place until the all-clear was given by law enforcement.

In a Facebook post, the school said it plans to be back in class on Wednesday.

In addition, Prince Peace Catholic School staff said the school went into lockdown while the situation at Clinton High School was investigated. That lockdown has since ended.

Shortly after 6:00 pm Tuesday, Cedar Rapids Police sent the following message to parents in the Cedar Rapids Community School District:

CRCSD Families and Staff,

This morning a call was made to the Cedar Rapids Police Department and referenced a security concern at Washington High School. The district worked collaboratively with law enforcement and determined that the threat was not credible. The call was similar to calls received today across several Iowa school districts and elsewhere in the nation.

”Swatting calls” are calls made to law enforcement or directly to schools, businesses, public libraries, or other entities where the public gathers. These calls are an attempt to trigger the dispatch of emergency services to a particular address.

As always, safety is our top priority. When an incident occurs which may compromise our safe environment, we act swiftly and implement any necessary security procedures. We recognize how difficult this harassment of our nation’s public schools is for families, and we are committed to keeping our families informed with accurate and timely communications.

We believe that open communication and cooperation between families, staff, and CRPD is essential as we work together. Washington High School building staff and families were informed of the incident earlier today. This district-wide communication is intended to keep all CRCSD staff and families informed.

As always, thank you for your support and your partnership as we work to ensure a safe learning environment for our students.If you have questions, please email