Parents shaken up after over dozen hoax ‘swatting’ calls statewide

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island State Police on Monday were on the receiving end of more than a dozen similar phone calls, claiming a shooting had happened at a school in 14 different communities across the Ocean State.

Among the schools where the hoax calls occurred was Cranston East High School, where Tuesday morning parents were still shaken up as they dropped their kids off for school.

“School should be a safe place for kids to learn,” said Jenny In, a parent dropping off two of her kids at Cranston East on Tuesday morning. “It shouldn’t be something where they come to school in the morning and [be in] fear.”

These hoax phone calls are defined as “swatting” by state police. According to State Police Lt. Robert Creamer, all of Monday’s calls came from one phone number.

No arrests have been made yet and all 14 threats were deemed to be a hoax by police, but large responses were issued in all communities.

At Westerly High School, the school was briefly placed into lockdown before police determined the threat was false.

These calls also came as a tragedy struck a Nashville, Tennessee, community, after an active shooter opened fire at a catholic elementary school and killed three students and three adults before police ultimately killed the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale.

“It’s very devastating because when you send your kids to school in the morning you don’t think of the possibility of them not coming home,” In said.

Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green also discussed the tragic shooting in Nashville at The Covenant School, sending condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

Infante-Green discussed the state’s efforts to prevent school shootings in Rhode Island as well as an update on the security upgrades implemented across the state after the shooting in Uvalde last May.

“We are keeping watch and we are being very proactive,” Infante-Green said. “We want to make news about investments [in education] and not about another incident that takes the lives of our youth.”

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