Message to Families Regarding Ongoing Issues with Online Threats

Huntley 158 families,

Over the past several years, our District has dealt with greatly increased levels of inappropriate use of social media. This misuse includes sending threatening, bullying, and disruptive messages. These messages are harmful. They cause hurt feelings, fear, and often, serious disruptions to the school environment. We know that some of you have received several messages regarding these matters recently, but we are committed to communicating as transparently as possible about these issues, especially as they pertain to student safety.

Presently, we want to update you on a situation under investigation regarding threatening messages received by Marlowe Middle School students. While the ongoing situation pertains specifically to Marlowe, we want to share this message with all Huntley 158 families, because issues relating to misuse of online communications are relevant to all of our families. The Huntley Police Department has released an update on their investigation.

During the course of the investigation, police discovered additional messages which were sent via Xbox Live to two individuals, but which referenced a threat to the general student population at Marlowe tomorrow. The Huntley Police Department has continued to investigate this situation and has discovered no evidence to support the validity of the threat.

As referenced in the update from the Huntley Police Department, the ongoing investigation has included the execution of a search warrant, the seizure by police of pertinent items, and the conducting of numerous interviews. In addition, the location from which the message was sent and a person of interest have been identified.

Out of an abundance of caution, as we have done in other cases where threats have come to our attention, we will have increased police presence at all Huntley 158 schools tomorrow, Friday, November 17. This will include uniformed officers present at Reed Road schools. We thank all of our law enforcement partners for their continued commitment to keeping our schools safe.

Please continue to partner with us in speaking with your students about the unacceptability of these types of messages and the harm they cause. Thank you for your help in keeping our schools safe for students, and for your continued trust in us. We care deeply about the safety of all our students. Many staff members, including me, have our own children attending H158 schools, and I feel completely confident sending them to our schools.

In relation to misuse of social media, let this message be clear to any individual who may even consider directing a threat at a Huntley 158 school: Any individual who makes a threat against a school in this District will face the absolute strictest school discipline and criminal consequences allowable by law. The intention of the threat does not matter. We will work with law enforcement to leverage every available tool to find the individual responsible and hold them to account.

Again, thank you for your attention to this very important matter.

Link to Huntley Police Statement

Dr. John Burkey