An online game that lets players score points after making false threats at school is raising alarms for authorities in California on Monday. The threats trigger evacuations and closures that cause the students, faculty, and authorities undo stress and worry.
The game, which may have originated in Switzerland, is now targeting schools in the Bay area, police said.
From CBS in San Francisco: Emeryville police Chief Jennifer Tejada said in a statement that the Emery Unified School District decided to close schools after being targeted by one of the threats leveled against students, administrators, and teachers on Sunday night.
Tejada said an initial investigation of the threat indicates it is a hoax generated out of a dare within an overseas online gaming community to see who could generate the most school evacuations in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
“We are monitoring social media and are seeing schools in Alameda County and others around the country reporting similar threats,” Tejada said.
Emeryville police Capt. Oliver Collins said the threats, which have been forwarded to the FBI, were also made at other California schools.
From CBS: The Redlands police and FBI determined the threat to be a hoax, but security was increased at local schools.
Meanwhile, in San Diego, school officials told the San Diego Tribune that its districts were on a heightened alert Monday. The newspaper said threat hoaxes had been made against schools in at least 46 states.
Music Watson, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County Office of Education, said, “The threats are fictitious, and are aimed at causing fear and panic.”