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FACT CHECK REPORT DECEMBER 09, 2022

Adam Hopkinson, Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC) Team

Chloe Bissett, Editor


Savannah Early College High School[1]


Claim: Several social media posts from November 30, 2022, claimed that a school in Savannah, Georgia was the latest site of a school shooting, leaving approximately 20 student victims. The posts gained traction online with one post gaining 1,500 shares in a single day.[2]

Facts:

  • The school campus was evacuated, and a full sweep search was conducted by emergency responders. The search revealed that there was no presence of an armed intruder; however, the investigation is ongoing.[3]

  • Due to growing online concern, the Savannah County Public School System stated on social media, stating the campus had been deemed safe and parents could pick up their children, provided they showed identification and adhered to correct school entrances. The statement highlighted that security and police would be present for the rest of the day to ensure the safety of students and staff.[4]

  • Savannah High School was one of many schools targeted by a campaign of hoax calls in a single day. Six separate incidents of fake calls claimed an active school shooter had caused multiple fatalities at high school campuses. Law enforcement is treating these incidents as domestic terrorism while the investigation continues.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The increase in school shootings over the last decade is likely due to the persistence of media reporting on this issue. Continuing media coverage after each hoax shooting would likely exacerbate pre-existing fear and tension within local communities and people in the public schooling system, creating mass hysteria within Georgia. This mass hysteria would likely result in the targeting of public officials deemed responsible for ‘failing’ public school system defense protocols. Such campaigns of harassment would likely take place on online platforms.

  • Hoax calls and subsequent emergency responses will likely result in the perception of security in public schools not being adequate. A small number of parents will likely homeschool their children due to safety concerns. Political repercussions will likely occur as a result of this as a lack of faith in the current government and elected officials will occur. This situation will very likely result in calls for the re-election of public officials with the hope of improving current safety protocols in the public school system.

  • The increasing frequency of both hoax school shootings and school shootings will highly likely elicit a political response from local communities aimed at gun control in Georgia. Calls for gun control will almost certainly face backlash from Second Amendment rights advocates. This backlash is likely to take place in the form of social media campaigns, increasing propaganda and protest.

Verdict: FALSE

 

[1]Savannah Early College High School” by Google Maps

[2] Fact Check: False claim of active shooter at Georgia high school (usatoday.com), USA Today, November 2022, https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2022/12/01/fact-check-false-claim-active-shooter-savannah-georgia-high-school/10809727002/

[3] Ibid

[4] Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Facebook, November 2022, https://www.facebook.com/SCCPSS/posts/pfbid02coMqhqVP5ah8yujmbXRmJcDULtq5LL6eKMH5NKvYHY4JGAEzWbkn1qJJJ99fVJwml

[5] Multiple Georgia schools target of false reports of active shooter, WSTB-TV, November 2022, https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/multiple-georgia-schools-target-false-reports-active-shooter/3FWYU45DBRDUTF3C3ZO6W4FZ3Y/

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