Iowa City school district receives fake statewide active-shooter calls, resumes classes as normal

The calls, referred to as “swatting,” were made to school districts across the state, beginning in Clinton, Iowa, on Tuesday. Iowa City schools are continuing as normal.


Grace Kreber

The Iowa City Community School District sign in Iowa City is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

Alejandro Rojas, News Reporter

The Iowa City Community School District was one of at least nine Iowa school districts to receive fake active-shooters calls Tuesday morning.

Superintendent Matt Degner wrote in an email to Iowa City families on Tuesday that the district is aware of the “swatting” calls and is working with law enforcement.

“All students and staff are safe and learning continues as normal in our buildings,” Degner wrote. “The safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. We are working closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation locally and statewide.”

State school districts are not facing any active threats and the same person or group may have been behind the calls, Iowa City Public Safety Information Officer Lee Hermiston said. Only Iowa City High School was the only school in Iowa City to receive a “swatting” call, Hermiston said.

In a news conference Tuesday morning, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens discussed the fake calls. Bayens said school districts started reporting the calls around 8:30 a.m.

“It started initially in Clinton County, and it permeated from the eastern side of the state over to the western side of the state, with the same type of phone call,” Bayens said.

The term “swatting” is the act of calling police to report a serious emergency, such as an active shooter, against a target individual with the intention of getting law enforcement to respond with a SWAT team.

Clinton High School in Clinton, Iowa, posted about the calls. Clinton High School canceled its classes for the rest of Tuesday.

“This morning before school, there was a 911 call to [Clinton Police Department] stating there were shots fired at Clinton High. The police are doing an investigation now. There is currently no sign of any shots fired,” the school wrote.

Sabine Martin contribued to this report.