A prank caller told law enforcement that several students had been shot at Heritage High School in Vancouver Tuesday. Half a dozen deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office arrived within minutes to find the report was false.
The caller, pretending to be a teacher inside the school, said that seven students had been shot, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies responded around 8:23 a.m. A former Heritage High resource officer was the first on the scene, and five more deputies arrived less than a minute later.
Deputies stayed at the school through the beginning of the day “out of an abundance of caution,” Heritage High School Principal Derek Garrison said in a letter to families.
Garrison said these prank calls are not isolated to Heritage. Schools are reporting similar instances of “swatting” across the country – the act of making a false call to bring armed police officers to a certain location.
The sheriff’s office is investigating, and said that the caller had a similar “accent and speaking style” as a false school shooting reporter at Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School, also in Vancouver, in September.
Garrison encouraged parents to talk to their children about the danger and stress these calls cause.
School resource officers were removed from schools in unincorporated Clark County in 2020, according to the sheriff’s office. They said the incident shows a need for officers to return to school campuses.
– Austin De Dios; firstname.lastname@example.org; (503) 319-9744