Greenbrier East High School and Eastern Greenbrier Middle School were victims of a “swat call” hoax on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Students were instructed to shelter in place in their classrooms just after 11 a.m. after it was reported to emergency services that shots had been fired at the schools.
According to Greenbrier County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bryant, an out-of-state caller placed the call as part of a statewide, multiple-school threat that created fear, disruption and chaos across West Virginia school systems. Bryant said that many schools in other states have been victim to this hoax in recent weeks.
“It’s just a way to create chaos,” he said. “And today they’ve picked West Virginia.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security announced that it and other law enforcement agencies had received multiple hoax threats about school shootings or other violence on campuses across the state. All calls were deemed not credible.
“Each threat is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeff Sandy. “We are 100% committed to continuing to ensure the health, safety and well-being of students and communities. We diligently work across departments and agencies to respond, monitor, and investigate these alleged threats.”
False threats were received in Barbour, Cabell, Greenbrier, Harrison, Ohio, Kanawha, Marion, Mercer, Monongalia, Raleigh, Taylor, Wirt and Wood counties.
The West Virginia Fusion Center, under the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, coordinated response efforts at the state level.
In terms of reporting a threat, the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security reminds all West Virginians to immediately call 911 if there is an immediate danger or law enforcement intervention is necessary.
Additionally, West Virginia has partnered with My Mobile Witness to implement a “see something, send something” reporting system that can be completed on a smartphone or other mobile device. All West Virginians are encouraged to participate in this initiative by downloading the free See, Send application from the App Store or Google Play.
My Mobile Witness is also compatible with web-based reporting and is not strictly for cell phone use. Once the app is downloaded to a device, users will be prompted to enter their first and last name (though any reporting can be done anonymously, if the user prefers), their phone number, and then select a state of residence. Once those fields are entered, the app will be ready to use. The user may submit tips for “Crime/Suspicious Activity” or “School Threat or Safety Issues,” and they may also request help for “Suicide or Addiction.”