HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Huntington High School was one of many targeted by what’s known as “Swatting” Wednesday.
While police found that there was no threat to students or staff, the uncertainty while it was happening was what many found scary.
“It was super scary. I couldn’t get ahold of my sister. She didn’t have her phone and she was also at the high school. It was just a lot of anxiety and it was really bad,” HHS student Laney Gannon says after the lockdown Wednesday.
Many parents were also sharing their concerns on social media.
Doctor Sarah Steven, a psychologist with HIMG and a parent herself says she went through the same emotions these same parents had to experience when the calls started coming in.
“Whenever we don’t know as parents if this is a life or death kind of a thing. It does send a shockwave through us,” Dr. Stevens says after the hoax. Fortunately, in this case, these were false reports but the community-wide panic and possible trauma was very real.
Counseling services are available inside the schools for students but professionals, like Dr. Stevens, say how parents treat the situation outside of the classroom setting is also key in helping students cope with these situations.
Stevens says parents should also recognize that sometimes these issues are not easy to explain and even just being open to listening can have a lasting effect.
“It’s something that’s hard to explain and talk about… It’s sometimes helpful for us to just ask open-ended questions instead of maybe jumping to conclusions about how they responded or how they felt about it.”
Stevens goes on to say that social media can sometimes bring about spreading misinformation and she’s encouraging parents to be cautious with what they share and post during these serious times.