The North Attleborough High School was put into lockdown on Feb. 13 after police received a call from someone threatening to harm students, teachers and faculty.
The caller, whose voice was male, told the police department a school was going to be placed into “imminent harm,” but did not specify which school it was. In a statement, NAPD said the call was received sometime before noon that day.
“The North Attleborough Police Department takes all school threats seriously and responds accordingly,” a spokesman for the police said. “Officer and school administration were immediately notified.”
The NAPD sent all available officers to the high school and middle school complex after the call was received. Members of the Massachusetts State Police were also present.
After searching the buildings, police were unable to find any suspicious object or person and deemed the incident as a ‘swatting’ event.
A ‘swatting’ is when a caller alerts authorities of a fake threat that would bring a large number of officers and units to a single location.
Upon further investigation, the NAPD said they discovered the caller’s phone number made other similar calls to threaten schools in Amesbury, Charlestown, East Boston, Chelmsford and Westfield that same day. The following day, the City of Fall River received a similar call threatening schools, leading to multiple shelter-in-place orders for students and faculty.
All of these false threats came after a mass shooting at Michigan State University on the evening of Feb. 13–in which three students were killed and five injured before the gunman took his own life.
In an email to parents that night, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Antonucci said he was grateful for the actions of the NAPD.
“NAPD secured the buildings, confirmed there was no credible threat, and within minutes students were able to resume their school day,” Antonucci said. “We are grateful for the partnership we have with NAPD, and appreciate their quick response and professionalism.”
The swatting incident was the second time in four months the North Attleborough High Schoolers have faced a threat that turned out to be fake.
In November 2022, students on bus routes were redirected from the high school after a threatening message was found on the wall of the boys’ bathroom by a staff member. The school was shut down that day and an investigation was opened. The police department was unable to find the suspect who wrote the message.