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A Message About SWATTING

Superintendent message: photo of Tim Payne with Ephrata School District Logo

Ephrata Families and Community:

Prior to the start of Winter Break, we received notification from our North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) #171 out of Wenatchee, that prank calls to 911 reporting fake emergencies at schools in our state are on the rise. This false reporting, called “swatting,” is a criminal harassment technique designed to trick emergency services into sending police or emergency service response teams to schools or other places where an emergency has not occurred.

I want to assure you that we prepare for these types of events to happen in Ephrata. At Ephrata Schools:
We evaluate our safety plans and procedures and practice emergency drills regularly.
We are actively working with local law enforcement and first responders on our emergency plans.
We’ve also developed tools for families to understand what will happen if an emergency takes place in one of our schools: 

We take safety very seriously. I want you to know that any swatting prank that occurs is a felony and Ephrata Schools, in collaboration with our partners, will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. 

How you can help:
You play an important role to stop misinformation: 
Focusing on facts from Ephrata Schools and/or our emergency first responder partners and remaining calm will help our resources work through situations as quickly as possible. 
Embellishing and posting, or reposting, false/unverified information can have serious negative impacts, including, but not limited to, creating panic and anxiety for students, staff and parents. 

Let’s work together for the safety of our children. We’re in this together!

We appreciate your continued support.

Tim Payne
Superintendent, Ephrata School District