At approximately 2:26 PM on January 17th, officers responded to the Fort Madison High School after their administration received a phone call from an individual stating that they were going to shoot up the school. Although this prompted an immediate police response, the department was simultaneously learning of other “swatting” calls being made to schools across the state. It is not believed that any students were endangered during this incident. This event mirrored a similar call made earlier in 2023 that sparked a large-scale law enforcement response to schools throughout Iowa. As a precautionary measure, officers remained on scene through the duration of the school day, and during dismissal.
Coincidentally, this swatting call occurred just as the Des Moines Register was publishing an article about state law makers advancing a bill with stiffer penalties for those who make such threats. It is unknown whether there is any correlation between this incident and the article being published.
The Fort Madison Police Department has the matter under investigation and is seeking assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This also took place at the Mount Pleasant High School, with multiple police responding. Again, it is not believed that any students were endangered.