Active Shooter Threat turns out to be “Elaborate Hoax” at Georgia High schools

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 12:59 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - Chaos spread across Georgia Wednesday morning as several high schools went into lockdown for false reports of an active shooter threat. The school later released a statement calling the incident “An elaborate hoax.”

Sabrina Smith, the Director of Safety and Security for the Valdosta City School system, says law enforcement received information around 10 am of an active shooter threat at the school. A teacher that wanted to remain anonymous shared that first responders were on the scene within minutes of the threat.

“The school immediately went into lockdown here at Valdosta High School, and they responded and conducted a sweep of the building,” said Smith.

However, after those sweeps, officials found no signs of a shooter or violence of any kind around the campus.

While the threat was a hoax, the fear of the unknown for many parents was real as they stood in disarray with law enforcement outside the school gates waiting for answers.

“I got a call from the school that they’re not letting anyone in or out, and that’s when I was like, what should I do,” said Nick Blair, the father of a freshman at Valdosta High. “My wife called me and said she heard it was a hoax, but then five minutes later, pictures started showing up of two people getting arrested.”

Smith says the high school ironically held an active shooter drill the day before, and because of that, many students say they didn’t really take the threat seriously to begin.

“First, I thought it was we were just doing another practice, but then I saw the post on Instagram,” said one student.

Other students recalled sitting in the classrooms quietly, following protocols from drills they’d previously practiced, sharing they didn’t really know what to think about what was going on.

Blair says he’s happy his daughter and all the children at the high school are safe and that this was not a real situation. However, he believes it’s a lesson to the high school to communicate better with parents to avoid chaos all around.

With similar threats made to other schools across Georgia, including in Savannah, Governor Brian Kemp took to Twitter, saying, “The FBI is actively investigating the threats, and rest assured for the criminals who orchestrated these hoaxes, we will go after them with every single resource available.”