JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Jamestown Public Schools entered “lockout protocol” on Thursday after receiving false swatting calls.
The district, posted an alert to parents on social media around noon Thursday.
“As a result of a state-wide hoax being perpetuated across all counties in New York, hundreds of school districts have received false swatting calls,” wrote officials. “There has been no evidence that these calls are founded.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, all JPS schools have been placed on a lockout this afternoon,” officials continued. “During a lockout, no one can leave or enter buildings. Instruction will continue as normal.”
The act of “swatting” is serious, according to Dr. Christopher Mansour, a Cyber Security expert and Mercyhurst University Professor.
“Swatting is when you call law enforcement pretending there is imminent danger which is incorrect so that law enforcement responds,” Mansour told our news partner Erie News Now.
He said the people that do this are, “bad and malicious actors that are mean and want to cause harm to victims or they are just having a bad day and they want to prank somebody.”
He said the motives behind swatting can range from money to payback to boredom.
“Sometimes they do it for financial gain, sometimes they do out of revenge, they have something against the target, or sometime they just or sometimes they just want to waste time of people involved,” he said.
Mansour went on to say the best way to protect yourself from a swatting incident is to, “limit the amount of information you share as much as you can online with people you do not know.”
This story has been corrected to report the school issued a “lockout” instead of a “lockdown.”