Aurora Police, Educators Ask Parents To Monitor Kids' Social Media After Friday's West High Lockdown

Aurora Police, Educators Ask Parents To Monitor Kids’ Social Media After Friday’s West High Lockdown

Aurora area police and school officials are calling on parents to monitor their children’s social media accounts after West Aurora High school students were placed on lockdown for about three hours Friday (Dec. 17, 2021).

Police and school officials from West Aurora School District 129, East Aurora School District 131 and Indian Prairie Schools District 204 held a joint press conference Friday afternoon to address the disruption caused by an inflammatory and inaccurate social media threat and the recent increase in similar school safety threats nationwide.

“Due to the fact that we have seen an increase in school safety threats nationwide, as well as throughout the city of Aurora, we need parents to support us in monitoring their children’s social media accounts,” Aurora police officials said in a Saturday news release.

Here are some of the statements from local leaders:

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jennifer Norrell, East Aurora School District 131

Dr. Jennifer Norrell

“We know that our young people, nationwide, are screaming because they definitely have been victims of the gaps in their periods of being in school … and we are seeing the ramification of all of that play out across the country.”

“Locally, we are doing a multitude of things in each of our school districts here in the city of Aurora to support our young people and their social emotional wellness, to try to limit the anxiety. Most importantly, we want our young people to know that this is not a way to reach out for attention.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Craig, West Aurora School District 129

Dr. Jeff Craig

“Shortly after 9 a.m. today, we were made aware of photos being airdropped to students that had a specific threat to West Aurora High School. The post was a picture of a gun taken in a bathroom.”

“For nearly 3 hours, our 3,700 students lost out on academic experiences, lunch periods were delayed, and it created undue stress on our entire school community. Our partners in this investigation is the Aurora Police Department and they will continue to follow up on this investigation to identify those individuals responsible for the disruption today.”

“We are fast approaching winter break in many of the neighboring districts. It is our intent to do this successfully and safely. We really hope that our students and community hear our message so that we can move ahead with the mission we are charged with — providing a high quality education for all of our students in all of our schools and in all of our districts.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrian Talley, Indian Prairie School District 204

Dr. Adrian Talley

“Tonight, I want to say to all parents, it is very important that you monitor your child’s social media through their cell phone.”

“You have to go up to your child and see what is on their telephone. You as a parent have that right and responsibility.”

Police Chief Keith Cross, Aurora Police Department

Keith Cross

“Someone deliberately took the photo from the internet, added text, and then sent it around the school, causing panic among students, staff, and families. This kind conduct has to stop. Over the past few weeks our department has been inundated with school threats.”

“We will investigate each one. They tie up valuable resources, disrupt learning, and cause fear. It should be noted it is not just our department, other jurisdictions across the region are seeing these types of instance.”

“We stand unified. Those of you who choose to participate in this type of activity, we will hold you accountable for your actions.”

Deputy Police Chief Scott Buziecki, North Aurora Police Department

Scott Buziecki

“Out of an abundance of caution we had to put students, staff, and parents at ease. We increased police presence around our schools, especially around arrival and dismissal.”

“Our officers and investigators take threats of violence seriously and will work with law enforcement and school partners to thoroughly investigate and prosecute such threats as appropriate.”

State’s Attorney Jamie L. Mosser, Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office

Jamie L. Mosser

“We have a strong partnership with our schools and law enforcement and adequate responding to prosecute these matters.”

“These are not a joke. This is not something that we can pass off as a childish game or something that is done accidentally.”

“When people choose to do this, it is a felony offense in Illinois of disorderly conduct. Whether it is an adult doing this or a juvenile, we will prosecute these cases.”

“The trauma that a child suffers when they are being told that they have to hide because of a potential threat is something that cannot be undone.”

“We will do everything that we can to continue to support our schools, to support the police and to make sure that everyone understands this will be taken seriously and will have serious consequences.”

SOURCE: Aurora Police Department news release

 

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