CLEVELAND — Police have responded across Northeast Ohio to two 'swatting' incidents at Garfield High School in Akron and Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland.
These incidents were two of many 'swatting' incidents across Ohio, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Here is a timeline of the incidents that occurred on Friday:
Saint Ignatius High School
The situation happened at around 12:15 p.m. when the Cleveland Police received a call that an armed suspect was outside of the school.
Saint Ignatius High School officials confirmed that the school was put on lockdown until the campus was deemed safe.
"While no suspect was ever identified on campus, school officials chose to enter into a school-wide lockdown for the safety of our community, while CPD officers searched campus buildings. After the campus was determined safe, CPD identified the claim as false and the lockdown was lifted," said St. Ignatius officials in a statement.
At this time, local law enforcement officers are investigating the situation.
Garfield High School
Akron Public Schools official Mark Williamson confirmed to 3News that Akron Police responded to reports of an active shooter at Garfield High School on Friday.
The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. when police received a report of an active shooter with a AR-15 at Akron Garfield Community Learning Center located off of North Firestone Boulevard in Akron, according to a police source close to the investigation.
Williamson says the principal of Garfield CLC issued an all-call to students' families assuring them that the report was a hoax and that everybody was safe. Still, some parents chose to pick up students early.
These were just two of several incidents that occurred across Ohio Friday, with other swattings being reported in the Youngstown, Toledo, and Cincinnati areas. While the calls were hoaxes and no students were hurt locally, these situations can still be incredibly dangerous.
"First responders are arriving with the intention of neutralizing the threat and assuming there is something that would require deadly force, and that's significantly a problem," school safety expert Dr. Amy Klinger with the Educator's School Safety Network told 3News.
Klinger says this isn't a brand new problem: Back in the 2018-19 school year, her organization identified false reports as the No. 1 threat to schools, saying districts need to be proactive with training on what to do. She adds the public needs to know this isn't a joke and carries consequences.
"Clearly, there's problems with the anxiety and trauma that it causes to people in the school," she said, "specifically students, in particular, but also to parents who are hearing information but don't actually know what's going on."
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