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Social Media Fuels Fear of Threat at Lake Zurich Schools

Police and District 95 authorities investigated; say threat is not credible.

Twenty-five students stayed home today, stating a concern over safety, said Jean Malek, director of communications for Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95. Another 75 students stayed home as well, for unstated reasons. 

School officials and police say they investigated the incident which spurred concerns and that they are confident that there is no credible threat at the school. However, to assuage parents concerns, the Lake Zurich Police Department assumed a presence at all District 95 schools today.

“It was something the rumor mill got ahold of and, when that happens, it’s hard to stop,” Malek said.

“It takes on a life of its own, like this, because of social media. To calm fears, we have officers in the area at all schools,” Deputy Police Chief Kevin Finlon said.

A communication regarding the incident was sent to Lake Zurich High School and Lake Zurich Middle School South parents on Monday.

Concerns stemmed from an incident two weeks ago in which a high school student wrote graffiti on a desk that contained threatening language from a song and the date May 2, Malek said.

Upon discovery, LZHS deans and Detective Mike Parlberg, the Lake Zurich Police Department school resource officer, investigated the situation.

“The person responsible was identified and action was taken,” Malek said.

While the investigation concluded that there was no credible threat, rumors spread amongst students though social media, Malek said.

Later, a similar message was found on the bathroom wall at Lake Zurich Middle School South. Malek said it looked as if someone had copied it from a photo of the desk graffiti.

Further investigation showed there was nothing to corroborate any perceived threat, Malek said.

The second incident and the resulting rumors resulted in the school district sending a communication to parents.

“Some parents, understandably, take anything like school violence very upsetting and some people opted to keep their children home,” Malek said. 

The communication ensured parents, "We will, as always, investigate any and all suspicious activity to continue maintaining a safe environment for our students and staff." 

LZ Parent May 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
As parents we had a discussion on whether to send our child to school or not today. We decided to send her with the expectation that we would see a police presence AT the building today. However, while most mornings I see a police officer sitting there updating his Facebook status and talking on the phone, there was nothing today. The one day all year that we all would have felt more at ease with a Police Officer being present and there is nothing! Even if it was not a credible threat to the police, there were parents that kept their children at home today, so it was at least a perceived threat by some. Why not give the taxpayers, students, parents and school staff the peace of mind? We live in a town where the Police Chief has chosen his own brother to be the Deputy Police Chief. Honestly we as residents need to evaluate the lack of professionalism at our Police Department. Let this serve as a great example of why. Look at our surrounding communities as examples: Barrington, Palatine, and Arlington Heights, how would they have handled this? Would they allow the Chief of Police to have his brother as the Deputy Police Chief?
Trumpet Player May 02, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Was Middle School North involved in this at all?
Trumpet Player May 02, 2012 at 10:45 PM
P.S Gary, I drove past MSN and there were no police there!
Marie Smith May 03, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Does anybody know what song it was that they left, and possibly what were the lyrics
Gary May 03, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Avenged Sevenfold 'Little Piece of Heaven'

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