WASHINGTON, USA — Students across western Washington faced another startling reality as false calls of school shootings came in from Bellingham to Tacoma on Tuesday.
“When you have so many false incidents where there’s not a gun present, you’re still scared because you know that’s a possibility that you have to worry about and it shouldn’t be,” said Franklin High School Sophomore Safiya Warsame.
Safiya and Junior, Natalya McConnell helped organize last week’s Seattle Student Union rally at the steps of City Hall following the shooting death of Ingraham High School student Ebenezer Haile. Franklin High School was not one of the schools that got a swatting call but it still hits close to home.
“It shouldn’t be this close to our communities, it shouldn’t be in our schools, we come here to be educated, we don’t come here to be killed,” said McConnell.
The schools that were impacted were Rochester High School in Thurston, Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Marysville Getchell High School, Mount Vernon High School, Sedro-Woolley High School, Sehome High School in Bellingham and Blaine Highschool.
“These false reports to school shootings adds a tremendous amount of stress not only to students, but teachers, staff, parents and responding law enforcement,” said Marissa Randazzo who is the Executive Director of Threat Management at Ontic. She said it’s unusual to have such a high number of false reports.
“If law enforcement is actually responding to a school shooting, they’re going to bring out their swat personnel, they’re going to treat it as if they have to immediately get into the school and assume there is an active shooting situation," said Randazzo.
These are serious crimes with punishment based off intent and outcome. Whoever made the false reports could face up to 10 years in prison.
Students told KING 5 there needs to be more mental health counselors in schools and they’re optimistic about the $4 million in mental health resources Seattle City Council recently allocated in their budget.