Local Officials Address Seriousness of School Threats

Naperville, Aurora, Will County, DuPage County, Naperville Community School District 203 and Indian Prairie School District 204 sent a message to the community on Wednesday urging families to have conversations with their students addressing public safety and threats against the school community.

“In recent weeks, our community has been the victim of several threats involving our schools in Naperville District 203 and Indian Prairie District 204,” the press release states. “These threats have caused significant disruptions to our learning environments, diverted substantial resources to investigate, and eroded parents’, students’ and staff members’ confidence in their schools being safe environments.”

“While we continue to actively investigate these incidents, we are also asking for the community’s help.”

“We acknowledge that not all threats against our schools originate locally, as is the case with the Oct. 15 threat against Naperville North High School, which has been traced to a juvenile in New York. However, some threats do start with our own students. We encourage parents to have open and honest conversations with their children about the seriousness of making threats against an individual or a school community. Children need to understand that there is no such thing as ‘joking’ about bringing a weapon to school, planting a bomb, initiating violence against another, or causing general chaos.”

“As the agencies responsible for the safety of our schools, Aurora and Naperville police departments will thoroughly investigate any threats, the DuPage and Will county state’s attorneys’ offices will aggressively pursue legal action against perpetrators, and School Districts 203 and 204 will invoke severe discipline, up to and including expulsion.

“Every member of a school community is responsible for its safety. We encourage everyone to “See Something, Say Something” and ask anyone with information about a threat of violence to bring it to the attention of school administrators and law enforcement.”

“You may be wondering what constitutes a threat. A threat is any expression of intent to harm another. Threats can be spoken, written, communicated using technology, or expressed in other means, such as gestures or body language. Threats can be made directly to the intended victim, communicated to third parties or expressed in ways ranging from verbal threats on phones, writing on public property, in notes, on social media or over text messaging.”

“We understand how unsettling it is to think that the safety of your child or your school community is threatened. However, spreading rumored or unverified information has the potential to cause great confusion and anxiety.”

“We strongly encourage parents and students alike to refrain from posting or sharing rumors about threats of violence on social media. Instead, fact check before forwarding or responding to rumors on social media. This can be done by calling your school’s office or your local police department’s non-emergency number to ask if they are aware of a rumored threat of violence. We may be limited in what we can say while an investigation is ongoing, but we ask for your trust that our agencies are doing everything in our power to keep our students, staff, and school communities safe.”

“Especially after the tumultuous few years our students have had navigating remote learning because of a global pandemic, we want nothing more than safe and stable environments for our students to learn and grow in. We are hopeful that by working together, we can reduce the frequency of threats against our schools, calm general anxiety about school safety, and refocus community dialogue on more positive topics, like the growth and education of our students.”

The release is signed by Naperville interim police chief Jason Arres, Aurora police chief Keith Cross, DuPage County state’s attorney Robert Berlin, Will County state’s attorney James Glasgow, NCUSD 203 superintendent Dan Bridges and IPSD 204 superintendent Dr. Adrian Talley.

For more information, visit www.ipsd.org.