swatting calls

Parents and Community Members,

We write you to provide information about the recent fake phone calls in public schools in Blair County and the Bedford Area School District’s preparation for any potential calls about our schools.  Today, several schools in Blair County were victims of a “spoofing” situation.  Someone, used technology to call the local 911 center pretending to be a school and claimed the school had an active shooter in the building.  In turn, the local school received a call from 911 and police were sent to the school building in response to the fake phone call. 

The Bedford Area School District has robust plans to deal with many situations including an active shooter.  Additionally, we work closely with law enforcement and many other governmental agencies to coordinate our responses to emergencies.  When we received information about the situation in Blair County, we quickly called an emergency meeting of all district leaders and local law enforcement to review our plans and make any necessary adjustments to deal effectively with the uniqueness of this situation. 

The district trains all staff in ALICE as our approach to respond to an active shooter.  This is a district requirement of all adults working in our district and taught to all students in grades 6-12.  The ALICE program provides a district-wide approach to communicating, locking down, and evacuating.  Again, adults are trained and understand how to react under the ALICE principles.

As a result of our previous planning and today’s meeting, the district is reviewing our ALICE program with all staff.  Additionally, we are providing specific training to secretaries about how to respond to such a call and communicate the first step to our ALICE program building-wide.  We also completed a table-top drill with local law enforcement to coordinate their response with our school police officer.  Our School Police Officer and the Bedford Borough Chief of Police contacted other state and local law enforcement to review these plans.

Parents, the district also developed a pre-loaded parent communication so we can notify parents very quickly if;

  • an ongoing situation is a result of a fake call
  • the current status of the building
  • where parents can go to reunify with students and/or receive additional information in-person.

Please know in addition to this initial communication, the district will work diligently to continue to update parents regularly.

Parents and Community Members, we appreciate your support.  Your school district values your trust and works persistently to gain your trust and support.  Over the years, the district has responded to numerous situations, and with your support, successfully resolved those challenges.  It is unfortunate that cowards in our society commit such acts, but together we can create the best situation possible for our children.  If you have any questions, please contact your building administration.