December 09, 2023

Iowa plagued with false school shooting calls

The Creston Community School District was one of many Iowa schools targeted by “swatting calls” Tuesday morning.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., Union County dispatch informed state radio of a 911 call received in which the unknown male caller said there was a shooter in the high school bathroom and four students had been shot, but these claims were proven untrue.

State radio informed the dispatcher multiple counties across the state had received the same alert.

“Swatting calls” are calls made to law enforcement or directly to schools, businesses, public libraries or other entities where the public gathers. These calls are an attempt to trigger the dispatch of emergency services to a particular address.

As parents noticed the commotion and lined up outside the entrance to high school, officers entered the building. After officers deemed there was no evidence of a shooting, the all-clear was given and the lockdown lifted.

During the search of the school, the Creston Veterinary Clinic began procedures to provide emergency treatment if necessary.

Law enforcement officers proceeded to SWCC, middle, elementary, and early childhood schools where they cleared the buildings one at a time, deeming each safe.

In an email to parents and families, Creston Superintendent Deron Stender stated, “I want every parent and staff member to know that the safety of our students and staff is my absolute priority. We have robust security and well-trained staff who responded to the lockdown and initiated their training. I recognize how difficult this is for our children, staff, families, and our communities and I am committed to our children’s and staff’s safety. Please visit with your child(ren) and ask them how they felt and what we can do to help them feel safe at our schools.”

These calls have been reported today in cities of Boone, Tiffin, Des Moines, Iowa City, Charles City, Mason City, Clear Lake, Dubuque, North Liberty, Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Clinton, Davenport and more.

“At this point in time we don’t believe there are any active threats to any schools in Iowa,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens during a press conference on school safety. “It appears the calls are making their way from eastern Iowa to western Iowa.”

The Creston Police Department is working with DPS to investigate the incident.

Creston Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa DNR, Afton and Creston First Responders all responded to the call.

This story is ongoing

Cheyenne Roche


Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.