Staples High School receives fake shooter threat causing lockdown


Photo by Finnegan Courtney '23

An armed Westport police officer walks towards Staples to evaluate the swatting threat.

Staples High School and 16 other schools in Connecticut received “swatting” calls on Oct. 21, causing lockdowns and police responses at each school. “Swatting” calls are when somebody falsely reports danger that requires police response.
The Westport Police Department searched Staples, visiting every classroom to ensure there wasn’t any danger, even though the call to Westport police was immediately suspected to be a false threat due to the multitude of other swatting reports. Staples was on lockdown for two hours, and Bedford Middle School was put in a shelter in place.
“The response protocol warranted a thorough onsite evaluation of Staples,” Superintendent Thomas Scarice wrote in an email, “including an armed room by room assessment.”
The police search put weapons in view of students, causing some emotional distress. Large rifles and handguns were visible. In light of this, many tests were canceled and academic expectations lowered for the following class periods.
“Teachers have been asked to focus on the social/emotional needs of their students for the rest of the day,” Scarice said.
Swatting threats are an ongoing issue in Connecticut and the nation. According to Wired, in the second half of September, there were over 90 swatting threats nationwide. Westport police have not yet identified who made the call that resulted in the Staples lockdown.