Police verify report of gunman at Northampton High School unfounded

  • Northampton High School was locked down Tuesday after police received a report of an active shooter at the school. The report was determined to be a hoax. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 3/28/2023 3:39:11 PM
Modified: 3/28/2023 3:38:58 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Police responded to reports of an active shooter threat at Northampton High School on Tuesday, although the threat was quickly determined to be a hoax.

Dispatchers received the threat at around 11 a.m., with officers responding and several being in the school within a minute of the report coming in, according to a report put out by the Northampton Police Department and shared on social media.

The incident occurred just one day after a school shooting at an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, which left three children and three adults dead.

The school followed lockdown protocols, as did other schools in the district, and school staff worked with officers to clear the building, according to police. It was then determined that the threat had been a hoax.

“This same threat was phoned in today to several other school districts across Massachusetts,” the department said in its social media post. “The Northampton Police Department is continuing to investigate this incident along with the Massachusetts State Police Fusion Center.”

Greenfield schools also dealt with a similar hoax, which proved unfounded.

Jannell Pearson-Campbell, the interim superintendent of Northampton Public Schools, said in an email sent out that the incident was an example of “swatting,” a type of fake threat called in to draw large number of law enforcement to a scene.

“As you may know, a hoax ‘swatting’ call was called in to the Northampton Police Department that resulted in a lockdown at Northampton High School and all other district schools were asked to shelter in place,” she wrote.

“After a thorough investigation of the high school, both the lockdown and the shelter in place orders have been lifted.”

Fake school shooting threats have been called in to the school district before, the most recent being in February.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@gazettenet.com.

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