The School Shooting Hoax Situation Explained
Last week, a series of “swatting” threats were made across America and Canada, in an attempt to generate chaos and fear within innocent people. On Wednesday morning, Pittsburgh Police operators were contacted with a number of computer-generated phone calls with claims of either an active bomb or active shooter situation going on at schools, two of which were Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic, which are in close proximity to Carnegie Mellon.
The Tartan met with one of the teachers of Central Catholic High School to give us internal information on what happened.
Q: What was your first indicator that something was wrong? How did you respond?
A: At 10:16 a.m., when the bell rang to start fourth period, we heard the Blue Point Activation Lockdown announcement come over the intercom. I was in the faculty room since it was my lunch period. I was with about seven other teachers and about eight boys that we grabbed from the hallway. Since we had practiced our lockdown drills before, we knew what to do. We pulled the doors shut, pulled down the black shade to cover the windows in the door, and secured the door with the night lock. Then we all moved away from the doors and sat down near the desks.
Q: How informed were you throughout the lockdown? What types of communications were happening between teachers or between Central admin and the police?
A: Our administrators came on the intercom and were keeping us updated. They informed us when we were in a soft lockdown and when we were to report to our homerooms. I am unaware of the communication with the admin and the police, but the admin was coming around to the individual homerooms and informing us that we were safe and they were going to start the evacuation process. Meanwhile, I was texting a bunch of the other teachers to see if they were okay and how they were doing.
Q: How were you feeling throughout the lockdown? How do you think your students were feeling?
A: I was terrified until I knew for certain it was a hoax. Normally, we get alerted about having a Blue Point lockdown drill, so when we went into lockdown I knew something was not right. Once we were in lockdown, I immediately texted my husband and loved ones informing them of the situation and that I was safe. It was also scary to see the SWAT team outside with guns entering the school. I am certain some of my students were terrified. When my homeroom returned after the lockdown, they told me how nervous they were, how one of them vomited, and how they started to break down and cry.
Pittsburgh was not the only target of this scare, as several counties around Western Pennsylvania were also victim to these attacks. Schools in Fayette Country, Beaver County, Lawrence County and Mercer County were all victim to these calls. Outside of Pennsylvania, schools in Utah were also evacuated due to fake calls on Wednesday, as well as nearly 30 schools in Massachusetts the day before.