Wyoming Schools Go On Lockdown After False Active-Shooter Calls

Perhaps in response to a TikTok challenge, multiple schools in Wyoming were locked down Monday morning as threats of active shooters and school violence were called in. All the threats were bogus and law enforcement has cleared the schools to end their lockdowns.

Clair McFarland

April 03, 20234 min read

School swatting 4 3 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Numerous Wyoming schools tumbled into lockdown mode Monday morning following false reports of active shooters and school violence. 

Some believe the false active-shooter calls are the result of a TikTok challenge.  

Schools in Rock Springs, Casper, Cheyenne and Gillette all were subjects of false violence reports and 911 calls Monday morning. They went into lockdown mode as police checked and cleared school buildings.  

The calls may be in response to a TikTok school shooting challenge trending on the social media app, which has led to numerous false active shooter reports around the nation in recent days.  

The challenge tasks TikTok users to prank-call schools and police claiming they will attack schools and students, and has been gaining traction since March 27, when a shooter gunned down six people, including three children, at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, Yahoo News reported.  


Dr. Margaret Crespo, superintendent of Laramie County School District 1, said in a letter to the public that there were swatting, or false reporting incidents throughout Wyoming and Colorado schools Monday.  

The Cheyenne Police Department issued a statement saying a caller had reported an active shooter on the first-floor bathroom of South High School in Cheyenne.  

Goins Elementary, Rossman Elementary, Johnson Junior High, Triumph High School and South High School all went into secure-perimeter or lockdown modes because of the call, which was made at about 8:10 Monday morning.  

"During these events, false calls are made to emergency services, sometimes from overseas, regarding active school threats and critical incidents," said Crespo in her letter. "We will not tolerate any behaviors both on or off district property that impact the health and security of our schools and community. False reporting places our entire community in danger."  

False reporting is a misdemeanor in Wyoming, punishable by up to six months in jail and $750 in fines.

Crespo encouraged people with insight into the issue to contact Safe2Tell at 844-966-7233 to share anonymous information.    

Stupid TikTok Challenge 

The Gillette Police Department did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily requests for comment.  

Commenters on Cheyenne-based Facebook group Cheyenne Rants and Raves were outspoken and speculative, however.  

"It's a freakin stupid TikTok challenge to call in an active shooter," said commenter Jeff Grant.  

Why have the kids at south continue their studies today? asked group member Vanessa Wells. Kids were jammed into rooms and told theres an active shooter, and then theres not. 

NO Verification 

"Please do not rush to schools to pick up children and please continue to watch for further updates," said the city of Rock Springs in a Monday statement addressing a report of an active shooter. At this time, there is nothing to confirm this threat is credible. 

"Officers from both the Rock Springs Police Department and Sweetwater County Sheriffs Office responded immediately, however, and cleared common areas and were, as of 10 a.m., checking each classroom in the Sweetwater County School District 1 buildings," the statement says.  

Natrona County High School went into lockdown early Monday morning as well. The lockdown lasted less than an hour, according to the timeline of public notices from the district.  

"There is NO verification of an active shooter on campus," said Tanya Southerland, Natrona County district spokeswoman in a public announcement just before 9 a.m.

Southerland said the schools had lifted their lockdown mode and the Casper Police Department had cleared the high school building.  

We will remain on heightened awareness, added Southerland.  

Casper Police Department announced the incident on its social media page Monday, saying it treats reports of threats to the safety of our schools and students with the urgency and the gravity that our community expects.

Gillette and Buffalo, But Not Riverton

The Gillette Police Department responded to the Campbell County High School on Monday morning after dispatch received a report of violence, according to the Campbell County School District.

"That was false," reads the districts statement. "The building has been cleared by law enforcement, and the school is no longer in lockdown."

The Buffalo Police Department dispatched a notice Monday morning saying they responded to an active shooter threat at Buffalo High School.

"Officers entered the school without hesitation and searched it but found no safety threats," reads the notice. "There will be an increased presence of law enforcement in the area of the schools."

Jodi Ibach, assistant superintendent of Fremont County School District 25 in Riverton, said the district has not had any threats but has received a warning about the swatting, and has made its principals and school-resource police officers aware of the trend.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter