Police get false report about someone armed at the high school
Supt. Brian Ricca told district families Thursday evening that someone called the East Greenwich Police Department earlier in the day with a false report of a person with a weapon at the high school. According to Ricca, police reported to the high school and, after a search, determined there was no threat.
There have been a number of these so-called “swatting calls” to schools across the country in recent weeks.
Students are on winter break this week so no classes were disrupted.
Here is Ricca’s email message to district families and staff:
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Families of the East Greenwich Community,
I am sorry to be interrupting your Winter Recess.
At approximately 12:20 PM today, the East Greenwich Police Department (EGPD) received a “swatting call” directed at East Greenwich High School (EGHS). This false report alleged that an individual with a weapon was in the building. For reference, “swatting” is defined as “The action or practice of making false reports to emergency services with the intention of initiating a large police response.” The false threat that our high school received today is consistent with what other Rhode Island communities experienced.
Members of the EGPD arrived on the scene a few minutes after they notified school personnel of the call and conducted a thorough search of the building. They determined that there was no threat to EGHS or any other building in the District.
“Swatting” calls have been on the rise in recent weeks across the country and have impacted our neighboring states of Massachusetts and Vermont. At this time, we have no reason to believe that EGHS was specifically targeted for this activity. Based on available information, it is believed that these “swatting” phone calls to emergency services originate from overseas and follow a familiar fact pattern when reported by the caller.
As unsettling as these hoax calls are, they do provide us an opportunity to work in conjunction and collaboration with the EGPD to review and reinforce our current emergency response protocols. We are confident that these protocols worked as intended and will continue to refine and strengthen them following today’s incident. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel welcome to contact our District School Safety Coordinator, Colby Anderson, or the administrators at your students’ school.
The safety of our students and staff is my top priority and something I will never waver from.
We look forward to seeing everyone back in our buildings on Monday.
As always, please feel welcome to follow-up with any questions.