‘Swatting’ to blame for Cloquet school threats

A new, dangerous trend is the cause for several threats made to schools across Minnesota and in the Northland Wednesday.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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CLOQUET, MN. (KBJR) - A new, dangerous trend is the cause for several threats made to schools across Minnesota and in the Northland Wednesday.

The term “swatting” describes an empty threat made to a location that draws a large law enforcement presence to one area.

Students at Cloquet Middle and High School Wednesday were put on lockdown after false threats of an active shooter were called in to local law enforcement.

Schools in Mankato and Rochester were also the targets of those empty threats, with 14 schools in total going into lockdown.

The scene Wednesday morning was tense for students, staff and parents in Cloquet.

“Everyone just kind of like hid because like, I don’t know, I think the teachers were in shock a little bit too,” Caleb Newton, a senior at Cloquet High School, said.

He didn’t initially realize the lockdown was real, and not a drill.

“I’m not gonna lie, I almost started crying, like I was just hiding, I was just sitting there like wow this is real life right now?” he continued, “This is crazy.”

Those threats made to the school at 10:46 a.m. made him worried for his classroom safety.

“I was thinking like I don’t want to come back here tomorrow,” Newton said.

With more than a dozen schools in Minnesota going into lockdown, and other schools, like one in Texas locking down Tuesday, Evans is taking notice.

“We have a lot of law enforcement out responding to one location, armed, expecting to be engaging in an encounter,” Evans said, “and you never know what could happen in that position or what can, might occur.”

Threats like the ones made Wednesday can pull away law enforcement from responding from other calls, Evans said it needs to end.

“As I noted that it creates a lot of law enforcement response, wasted resources but more important it causes alarm in our community which we cannot tolerate,” he said.

Moving forward, the BCA says they have an app called the See It, Say It, Send It App, which allows the public to report suspicious activity.

“We want them to report any suspicious activity or this type of activity if they learn it online, we will work with law enforcement to make sure it’s adequately addressed,” he said.

It is still unclear where the calls originated from Wednesday.

Swatting can be punishable by a felony, jail time, and fines.