LA High Hoax Shooting Threat Part of Larger, National Trend



Police Outside of LA High School

On Friday, November 4th, an unidentified caller reported to police that multiple students had been shot on the Los Angeles High School (LA High) campus. LA High, as well as GALA, which is co-located on the LA High campus, went into lockdown immediately. For GALA students, the lockdown – which began just after noon – coincided with the end of lunch, in which classrooms are usually closed or being used for club meetings. Students immediately headed for the nearest enclosed space, in most cases leaving backpacks, lunches, and phones outside, where they would wait for over half an hour until the campus was searched and cleared.

The call, which was later determined to be a false report, follows a larger, more significant trend impacting high schools across the US as of late. Beginning in late August, hoax reports to law enforcement about bombs, shootings, and other threats to school campuses have peaked in popularity, throwing dozens of schools into temporary lockdown and panic. This dangerous prank, often referred to as a swatting, has hit schools in Southern California especially hard.

A similar case was reported on October 14th, at Segerstrom High School, located in Santa Ana. Police received reports of an armed person on campus. A sweep of the classrooms found no threat of danger.

A month prior, Hollywood High School, in Los Angeles, was put under lockdown for an hour while police searched for a shooting threat. The search bore the fact that the reported classroom didn’t exist, and neither did the gun on campus. Before lunch, class was back to normal.

Orange County, New Jersey, and South Carolina have also been slammed with swatting calls this academic semester. In the last three weeks of September alone, more than 90 hoax calls were reported across 16 states. Law enforcement has connected 32 of the 90 calls and determined that they stemmed from one perpetrator. However, as of now, tracking the origin of the number hasn’t exposed the person or persons responsible for the swatting calls.

All the faux reports have yielded the same outcome: lockdowns, law enforcement sweeping the campus, and the ultimate return to a normal school day. No students or teachers have been physically wounded or killed.

As of early November, the swatting spree is still going strong, and the pleas from students, parents, and administrators for the pranksters responsible for such calls to stop the damaging cycle continue to grow louder.