You may remember the recent threats of violence on Mira Loma’s campus or have heard related rumors about other high schools in our area. Mira Loma received a potential threat through social media that was sent to a student and widely circulated. Meanwhile, several Ivy League universities have also received alarming and dangerous threats. Many campuses were evacuated then reopened shortly afterward when police forces stated that the threats were invalid.
Yale, Columbia, Cornell, and Brown were among the universities that received threats of violence in the past few weeks. Prior to these incidents, numerous colleges in Ohio had also been threatened.
On November 5, the New Haven police dispatch received an anonymous phone call from a person who supposedly placed 40 explosives around Yale University’s campus. For the students’ safety, a large portion of the campus was evacuated.
Two days later, Brown University received a similar phone call warning of explosives placed around the school. Additionally, a suspicious package was discovered outside the university’s Life Sciences building. On the same day, Cornell police officers received an anonymous dispatch warning of explosives that were placed around the school. The caller also stated that an armed person was waiting inside one of their buildings. The university took action by evacuating students from the campus for a few hours.
At Columbia University, a user on Twitter directed two threats towards the school. They claimed that they had placed 40 explosives around the campus and that they were armed. The New York police department evacuated a few areas of the school while investigating the threat. This incident occurred on the same day as Brown and Cornell.
In all cases, the threats were proven to be invalid, and the universities have long since resumed normal operations. However, the similarity between the different threats has not gone unnoticed, and authorities believe they all came from the same source.
Upon further investigation, the FBI named several teenagers as suspects involved in the recent crime. An anonymous group of 13 to 16-year-olds on Discord were known to be a part of swatting incidents in Los Angeles. The individuals lived in various locations around the country, including Ohio, Maryland, and New York, proving their possible connection to the Ivy League threats. Still, there is much more to look into regarding the situation.
These incidents, as well as the threat made to our own campus, are examples of swatting, a practice that has become more prominent in recent media. Swatting is the act of making a false phone call to emergency services and sending them to a location where no emergency is happening. It is an attempt to create a disturbance and waste resources and is considered a crime.
While the warnings about potential violence in San Juan schools are not directly related to those occurring at colleges around the country, both are very startling coincidences. Additionally, both issues provide insight into the effect of online platforms on unpleasant and violent acts. In the future, concerns for student safety could lead to the installment of more security measures at public schools and universities. To curb the spread of misinformation and conflict, schools may begin to monitor what students post on social media. As we approach the end of 2021, it will be interesting to see how social media further evolves our daily lives.