Law enforcement says the calls were part of what’s termed a Swatting Hoax.
We’ll clarify what exactly that is in just a moment.
Even though it was a hoax the response by police, school officials and parents was urgent.
We have team coverage tonight. With Douglas Braff looking at how schools responded, Stoker Wieczorek talking to parents who went to the schools and Nicole Fuschino explaining the lock down procedures many schools used Today.
But we start with Brock Owens who explains how law enforcement handled the situation.
Pennsylvania State Police say calls were made to 911 centers across the State claiming to have an active shooter or bomb threat at a school in their county.
The Bellefonte School District, Bishop Carroll Catholic and Altoona Area High School were three of the schools that were targeted today officials say.
State police say the claims made in the calls were determined to be fake, and there were no shots fired in any of the schools.
But police say they treated the calls seriously and responded accordingly.
“Our initial alert is a high pitched tone on our radios so whenever we hear that it gets everybody’s attention and then when that’s followed by an active shooter at the school district everybody’s adrenaline is through the roof but our first thought is just get there as soon as we possibly can and get inside the school as soon as we possibly can.”
“Violence in the past that were mostly bomb threats. We haven’t had one of those in quite some time, but that’s the first time we’ve actually had to respond to something of this magnitude.”
Cambria County District Attorney Greg Neugebauer says after the call to Bishop Carroll, it was decided to put all schools in the county on lockdown.
“Law enforcement trains for this and frankly teachers and students train for this. It’s a shame that we have to train for it. We’re going to take a look at everything that happened today, we’re going to see what we’ve done well and what we need to improve.”
Swatting calls have been scaring students and staff at schools across the country recently.
In early March, nearly a dozen Nebraska high schools recieved swatting calls. Yesterday at least 28 schools in Massachusetts fell victim to swatting. And today not only schools in Pennsylvania but also in New Jersey got calls.
FBI Pittsburgh tells us that they will continue working with Local, State, and Federal officials on these matters.
They also urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.