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False reports of shootings coming into schools across Oklahoma

Robin Jonathan Deutsch

Police across Oklahoma reported bogus calls of mass shootings at schools across the state Thursday.

The caller would say there was an active shooter at a school and then provide no further updates. It’s unknown where or why these calls are coming about Oklahoma schools. It's also unclear how or if they are related.

Federal authorities have been investigatingsimilar incidents across the nation.

Last month, NPR reported “nearly 200 schools in 28 states were targeted,” this fall.

Thehoaxes – commonly called “swatting” – follow a pattern across the country where a false threat or report is made to cause a response by police.

The FBI released a statement about the incidents, Thursday afternoon. The statement said federal officials were aware and investigating.

"It is important to note that law enforcement will use all available resources to investigate a school threat until we determine whether it is real or not," the statement said. "Investigating hoax threats drains law enforcement resources and diverts us from responding to an actual crisis. Hoax threats can shut down schools, cause undue stress and fear to the public, and cost taxpayers money."

So far, incidents have been reported in the following communities:

Districts responded to the threats in communications to parents, like one sent to parents in Stillwater.

"While this threat was a hoax, we understand the anxiety a situation like this can cause for our families, students, staff, and community," a message to Stillwater parents said. "Please know that our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. We take any and all reports of potential threats seriously, and we are making every effort to maintain an environment where students and staff feel safe."

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
Ryan LaCroix joined KOSU’s staff in 2013. He hosts All Things Considered, Oklahoma Rock Show, Oklahoma Rock Show: Rewind, and Oklahoma Music Minute.
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