SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Area first responders took up positions around numerous area schools this morning after getting reports of shots being fired, though in every case so far, those reports have turned out to be hoaxes.
No injuries have been reported by any law enforcement agencies. In some cases, calls have been made for schools that are actually closed for spring break.
As of this writing, Ogden High, West High, Spanish Fork High, Provo High, and Box Elder High have been confirmed as victims of the hoaxes. ABC4 is working to confirm other reports of similar activity. Reports are continuing to come in, and in each case, either law enforcement officials or school district officials have confirmed each school to be safe. Police remain on the scene, however, securing each building in accordance with their protocols.
“We understand the concern of parents,” stated Ogden School District on Twitter. “Please understand the obligation to support law-enforcement response in their precautionary protocol. Please do not come to the school. Repeat do not come to the school. Students will not be released until police have cleared the building.”
In every case, parents and the public are being asked to avoid the school areas as police follow protocol and secure each school. Parents and the public are cautioned to keep an eye on official news and police sources to confirm any reports and to avoid sharing unconfirmed gossip.
“Mulitple hoax calls have claimed active shooter situations in various schools throughout the state,” stated a release from the Utah Department of Public Safety. “These calls are taken very seriously and are immediately looked at by law enforcement agencies. We ask the public to please stay calm as our local law enforcement partners have not verified the validity of these accusations and we are currently looking into the origin of these calls.
In the state of Utah, calling in fake school shooting hoaxes is punishable as a misdemeanor, but anyone caught could be forced to pay for any expenses or losses incurred by first responders being called to the scenes. However, perpetrators of school shooting hoaxes could also face federal charges, which could include prison time.
Today’s school shooting hoaxes join additional fake reports from a number of American cities in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at a Nashville Christian school that claimed the lives of six people. Kansas, Pennsylvania, and an increasing number of other schools across the nation have reported similar activity in the last few days. Southern California experienced similar threats in September 2022.