A suspect has been identified in the undisclosed October 15 threat to Naperville North High School. The Naperville Police Department, among other agencies, identified a juvenile offender from another state as being the person responsible. Naperville School District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges provided the update at Monday’s board of education meeting.
“Any appropriate charges will need to be reviewed with the state’s attorney’s office not only in our county but in the state where this juvenile offender resides,” said Bridges. “I have already communicated to law enforcement my intent to seek justice to the fullest extent allowed by the law.”
At the October 20 Naperville City Council meeting, interim Naperville police chief Jason Arres said the juvenile is from New York and is now facing possible felony charges. The police department is working with authorities in New York to work out whether they will be charged in New York or our state.
On October 15, the school had gone into a soft lockdown in the morning with no movement to and from the school before the day was shortened. The district said all students were safe and they were released at staggered times. Naperville police had deemed it safe for the school to host its football game and homecoming dance over the weekend.
This is the fourth threat that has been made to a District 203 high school in the last four weeks. Today, the district shared on Twitter that they are aware of a message that is a “general, non-specific, and unsubstantiated threat.” A Naperville Central student received the message and it’s been circulating on social media. The district said the Naperville Police Department will be investigating the situation. The school day proceeded as normal.
Just yesterday, the district decided to restrict access to both Naperville North and Central high schools “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a District 203 spokesperson. These measures were in response to a circulating social media message that the Naperville Police Department is investigating. Students were not able to leave their respective schools for lunch and all physical education classes were held indoors. The district said all students at both schools were safe.
And on September 22, students and staff were removed from Naperville North and student pickup took place at Naperville Central High School due to a bomb threat. “We will seek justice on each one of these cases as these threats unfold,” said Bridges.
Some parents came to yesterday’s board of education meeting to voice their concerns. One mother said she feels like the district isn’t communicating well with parents. “As a parent I’m tired of preparing myself weekly for getting these kinds of messages, usually from my student first before being notified by the school or district,” said Allison Childs. “I do not want to become complacent about these threats because the minute we do that is when something will happen.”
District 203 has student ambassadors as part of their board meetings. Joanna Cho, who represents Naperville North, said communication to students was efficient in response to yesterday’s school restriction, but most students are feeling “stress, frustration, and exhaustion.”
“A large concern among students is that the high frequency of these events has desensitized us from the seriousness of the threats causing kind of a ‘boy who cried wolf’ effect where we no longer take the threat seriously something devastating will happen,” said Cho.
“We will do our best to continue to communicate with our families the information that we can communicate,” said Bridges. “We do have to take every one of these threats as a serious credible threat to the safety of our students and our staff.”
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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