BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – In response to an uptick in swatting calls at schools, the superintendent for Buffalo Public Schools is putting school leaders on alert in case they get a swatting call.

Dr. Tonja Williams sent a letter late last week to school principals on swatting calls and to make sure they know what the protocol is if they get a swatting call.

Swatting is when a prank call is made attempting to get police and other first responders to the scene. Several weeks ago, a swatting call was made toward South Park High for a report of a threat, but it was a fake call.

In her memo to school principals, Williams says she has “deep concern” about the recent rise in swatting calls.

She wants to make sure schools follow lockdown procedures and that parents are notified as soon as possible. Williams says that schools themselves may not get a heads up that a swatting incident is happening, before police get on school property.

“Safety, safety for our children safety for our teachers and administrative staff that’s most important and we want to make sure that every child that leaves home in the morning get home safely in the evening,” said Buffalo School Board Member Terrance Heard, “The parents being notified is really most important to our district, because we don’t want them to think that an incident happened and they were not made aware of so that’s a lot of phone calls that have to be made, robocalls to the parents.”

Williams says BPS will remain on high alert on swatting calls. She also recommends that schools that haven’t practiced lockdown procedures to do so soon. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has called for more tracking of these calls and for additional funding for the FBI to investigate swatting incidents.

There have been numerous swatting calls directed at other school districts locally and schools across the country. Law enforcement at all levels have been investigating these swatting calls.

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.