ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police responded to East High School on Wednesday morning for a reported shooting, while police in Freeport and Dixon responded to similar reports there.
Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd said police were summoned at 8:18 a.m. to the school, located at 2929 Charles Street.
No one at the school was injured and the report was determined to be false. One officer who was responding to the scene was involved in a crash while en route, Redd said.
Multiple school districts in Illinois reported similar false reports, known as “swatting” calls. Wednesday was scheduled for junior students to take PSAT tests.
“Swatting” is the practice of making a prank call to emergency services to dispatch a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.
Redd said students were placed on lockdown until officers searched the building as a precaution.
East High Principal Jim Parker released a statement at 9:50 a.m. saying, “Students & staff are safe and accounted for. This is the best-case scenario during what could be the worst day of our lives.
East students will be dismissed for the day. Students who drive can leave from the main parking lot. Students can also be picked up from the Schnuck’s parking lot on Charles Street. Buses will also dismiss during this time. Thank you for your patience during dismissal. Rockford Police will also provide support.”
Classes at the school are canceled for the day and East High School Juniors will have a makeup day for PSATs on Tuesday, April 25th.
Freeport Police said “no confirmed shots” were fired in an incident reported at Freeport High School, at 701 W Moseley Street, at 8:22 a.m.
The Freeport School District released a statement saying, “Unfortunately, FHS was part of a nationwide trend of what we believe to be a prank phone call today. The call indicated that there was a real emergency when in fact there was not. Just to be safe, the police walked the building with multiple squads responding. We are grateful for their quick response.”
Freeport Schools said multiple hoax reports were called in at Dixon, Winnebago, and Rockford schools, but the Winnebago High School superintendent said that was in error, and they did not receive a false report at the school.
Freeport High School Principal Dr. Beth Summers said PSAT testing would continue.
The Dixon Police Department said it received a 911 call from a male caller at 8:33 a.m. who said “There was a student that was shot at the Dixon High School.”
Police said the caller had a foreign accent and was “difficult to understand.”
Police said the Lee County 911 operator suspected the call was a “swatting” situation.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Illinois State Police said 21 schools across 19 counties in Illinois received fake threats, and none turned out to be credible.
Police also said the calls were part of a pattern of similar calls received by law enforcement across the United States.