Swatting Vs. Morals

Hundreds of calls have swept through Northern America in the past two months, instilling fear into students and staff around the country.


Addison Pirkl

Just recently, many swatting incidents have been appearing all over the USA.

The week of March 19, 2023, multiple schools nationwide received near identical emails from the same person, threatening to bomb schools, or an active shooter scenario, if they didn’t remove a book called “This Book Is Gay” by Juno Dawson, a non-fiction, young adult author, The Gazette said.

Northwest Junior High School (ICCSD), was evacuated twice, on March 23 and 24, due to these threats, but after sweeping the school, no bombs or shooters were found. This caused the book to be temporarily removed from the ICCSD shelves, undergoing the book reconsideration process.

These mass, non-credible emails deemed the term “swatting,” a criminal harassment tactic used to scare schools, businesses, etc., into a panic, and corral many first responders to a single address (Oxford English Dictionary). Usually, swatting is correlated with something that goes against someone’s morals, like the “This Book Is Gay” book, for instance.

These calls swept Iowa, starting in the Eastern part of the state (Decorah, North Liberty, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa) and moved west across the state to cities like Des Moines, Nevada, Waterloo, Creston, Boone, Clear Lake, and Mason City (Iowa Department of Public Safety).

These identical emails didn’t just hit hard in Iowa. They started in New York, slowly moving their way west through Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Missouri, Iowa, and Wyoming.These calls and emails have been going on for almost two months, and there seems to beseems to be nothing people can do to stop these hoaxes.

In 2023 alone, over 384 swatting phone calls and emails have been reported since the beginning of the year to the end of March. In 2018 and 2019 combined, only 69 hoax phone calls were made. This means 4.3 swatting phone calls were made per day in the first three months of 2023 alone (The Times).

These phone calls may seem harmless at first, but with the ever-growing amount of school shootings throughout the country in the past couple of years, the calls invoke fear, anxiety, and threats. In the USA, over 89 school shootings happened in the first 86 days of 2023. Around 12 children die a day due to gun violence in the USA. This makes these hoaxes frightening, and effective.

As these threats finally hit the ICCSD community, they became more real, vivid, and scary. No student should have to fear for their safety at school; they should feel safe, welcomed, and find a place where they can belong. But, these hoaxes have done everything but instill that mindset into students.

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