Five Illinois high school students are facing criminal charges as a result of comments “threatening in nature” made in the hallways of Huntley High School and on social media websites.
Authorities from the for northwest suburban high school and Huntley Illinois Police Department reported that between Feb. 3 and 5, officials were made aware of a “small number” of comments made that ultimately resulted in an increased absenteeism, especially on Feb. 8.
“The Huntley Police Department and Huntley Community School District 158
take these matters seriously and vigorously investigate the intent and authenticity of such issues,” read a police news release. “The Huntley Police Department, in cooperation with Huntley High School, continuously takes measures to safeguard the student body and facilities to ensure a safe environment for students and staff.”
After police met with McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office five male students, two 17-year-olds, two 16 year-olds and a 15-year-old student were charged with disorderly conduct. One of the boys faces a misdemeanor charge and the remaining four face felony charges, according to police.
All have been petitioned to McHenry County Juvenile Court.
Police and school officials ask that parents remain vigilant of “unsafe or suspicious” issues that raise concern for student safety. They also encourage parents to use these incidents as opportunities for parents to speak to their children about appropriate use of social media and the potential consequence of bullying, harassment or threats.
Dan Armstrong, director of communications for Huntley Consolidated School District 158, said after a thorough investigation it has been determined that the incidents “for the most part … (were considered) ill-advised jokes.”
Though the postings are now deemed to have not “constituted a real threat in anyway to students” they were “taken seriously.”
Armstrong could not say what the messages said, but insisted there never was a concern about keeping school open.
“When we first heard about these messages we (took) them seriously, at first and … working closely and quickly with police we were able to determine that there was no legitimate threat to students’ safety. In that time we were able to make a decision we were able to keep school open as planned.”