D103, police probe social media post involving gun

FBI, local authorities visited GWMS student's Stickney home

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

On Nov. 5, FBI agents and Stickney police officers visited the Stickney home of a George Washington Middle School student who allegedly had threatened to bring a gun to school in a post on Snapchat.

The social media company reportedly passed information about the post to the FBI, who then alerted police in Stickney.

"We were initially contacted by the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force," said Stickney Deputy Police Chief Richard Jaczak. "They were made aware of it and in turn made us aware. We immediately contacted the George Washington Middle School principal and superintendent and the Lyons Police Department and met with them. The school district addressed it immediately and Lyons Police are now continuing the investigation and any potential charges."

Jaczak said the social media post did not directly threaten any violence.

"There was no specific target, it was a mention of bringing weapons," Jaczak said.

Students were not in school on Tuesday, because it was a Teacher Institute Day.

Jaczak said that he believes the student who made the post has been suspended but is not in any type of custody as far has he knows.

"I know the student has not been in school," Jaczak said.

George Washington Middle School Principal Don Jones declined to confirm whether the student who made the social media post has been suspended, saying that he could not talk about disciplinary matters.

"The whole situation has been handled appropriately," Jones said. "There's kind of a process for this, and it's in that process."

A parent of a GWMS student, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation, said students were told the social media post was made by an eighth-grader.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on the case, referring a reporter to the local police department.

On Nov. 5, District 103 Superintendent Kristopher Rivera posted a statement on the district's website about what he described as a "safety threat" to GWMS. Rivera said the student safety is priority number one.

"We take all social media threats seriously, and we will report them to the authorities," Rivera wrote. "Free speech can be limited when it affects the well-being of schools and students and interrupts normal school operation. We will not stand for it!"

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Joanne Schaeffer  

Posted: November 9th, 2019 2:38 PM

Does the district have definite policy regarding on line situations like this? I sure hope so.

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