West High parents and students react to nationwide swatting calls

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 10:33 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Dozens of school districts across the state are working with law enforcement regarding “swatting calls.”

“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.

Districts in our area that experienced “swatting calls” include Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Iowa City.

“This morning was the first time I learned about that term swatting,” said Laura Prince, the mother of a Junior at West High in Iowa City.

Prince said she was the one who told her daughter that someone had reported a fake threat to her school district after receiving an email from the school district and the Iowa City Police Department.

“I signed up to receive the notifications when the police respond to something,” she said. “I think the school district and the police department’s partnership has to continue and develop to ensure stuff like this gets identified.”

Iowa City Schools Superintendent Matt Degner sent this email out to parents: 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. 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.”

While parents received notifications, we talked with students who didn’t know their district was targeted.

“This is the first time I’m hearing about it,” said Senior Caleb Ngendo.

“I learned about it because my mom works at the school,” said Rudy Herrera. “I read the email and was a little confused. I didn’t really think much of it because nothing was different about the day.”

Prince changed her plans after Tuesday’s threats She wanted to see her daughter as soon as possible to bring some peace of mind.

“I normally don’t pick her up,” she said. “I asked her if I could today because I thought after what happened it might be nice to have me be here.”