Repeated internet threats disrupt school safety

January 21, 2022


Sydney Richardson

For the 2021-2022 school year, multiple threats have been made against the safety of the school environment that got the attention of administration and the Downers Grove Police department.

The past month or two have been stressful for all those inside high school buildings throughout Illinois due to the increased number of social media posts threatening the safety of the school.

This uptake in threatening content puts everyone inside high schools on full alert and creates a buzz around the school on what should and shouldn’t be done. After extensive analysis from administration and local police, it was found that the posts weren’t connected to one particular school; however, many were still uneasy.

DGS principal Edward Schwartz weighed in on how we as a school have been keeping the building safe despite recent concern.
“Everything we put in place safety wise we almost always consult with the police and work with them. We have our resource officer here [who] works with the people back at the station,” Schwartz said. “Anytime there is any unrest or people feeling uneasy about safety I always ask [the security staff, and administration] to be more visible… to be reassuring that way.”

This positive initiative taken by administrators has created a sense of calmness around the building that senior Tijay Patel has noticed, especially on the day the shared threat was supposed to occur.

“I personally attend school on the days of the threats. Our school has a very good security system, and it’s a safe environment… I didn’t feel like anything was different on those days because every day [the security] does a good job monitoring the school,” Patel said.

Many parents have also either noticed or heard about these same threats. No parent wants to put their child in harm’s way; however the decision to either send, or keep their child home from school due to a threat can be a controversial topic. Parent Janet Steele trusted the plan Schwartz, and the rest of the administration, put in place with the help of the Downers Grove Police department.

Each and every report is thoroughly investigated and taken very seriously. . . Please know that if there is ever a time we deem a threat to be credible, we will notify you immediately.

— District 99

“I sent my kids to school because the message received from Downers Grove and CSD99 was because the threat did not specify that South was being threatened and was just a general threat that someone posted… If there was ever a question of the safety of my kids, I would always protect them first and foremost.  It seems the hoaxes and threats have always been out there but with social media now, we hear about every little thing. You just have to make decisions of what is best for your family,” Steele said.

Even though most of the families inside the building trusted the school’s decision, Associate Principal Karen Taylor stated that 128 parents called the attendance line citing that the school threat was the reason for their students’ absence.

As we kick off the new year and second semester of the school year, it will be important to continue to stay alert to any possible school threat that could be made on social media and continue to take appropriate action.

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