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Richards student latest one charged in school threats

From staff reports

A fourth student has been charged by Oak Lawn police for his role in a series of threats of violence made against local schools on social media and in text messages.

Division Chief of Investigations Gerald Vetter said in a release that a 16-year-old student at Richards High School in Oak Lawn was arrested Friday. He said the teen will be petitioned to juvenile court on two counts of disorderly conduct for transmitting a bomb threat against the school and transmitting a threat to shoot the principal.

Earlier this week, Oak Lawn police, with the assistance of the FBI, identified and charged three minors for making the threats.
One of the students attended Oak Lawn Community High School and the other two were students at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School.

None of the youths have been named because they are minors.

All four students face disciplinary action from their respective schools up to expulsion.

Three school districts last week said that bomb threats posted to social media disrupted activities and prompted precautions such as soft lockdowns.
Among schools targeted were Richards and Oak Lawn Community High School in Oak Lawn, as well as Stagg High School in Palos Hills.

In a message sent Nov. 9 to families at Oak Lawn Community High School, Principal Jeana Lietz promised swift action against those responsible for the threats, including possible expulsion.

Threats directed to Stagg were received Nov. 5 and Nov. 8, and Stagg Principal Eric Olsen in a message sent Nov. 8 expressed frustration over the threats and how quickly they spread.

“The ease at which one can disrupt a school community with a social media post is a reality we have dealt with as a society for the last several years,” he wrote. “Individuals who repost, screenshot and reshare or add to these types of social media threats contribute to the further spread of fear and anxiety.”

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio in an earlier release this week said the first three students arrested said they did not realize the seriousness of their actions, thinking it was only a prank.

Vetter said, “Our patrol division and detectives continue to take this conduct and all threats against our schools serious. Our investigators our diligently working in partnership with school officials and the Chicago Field Office of the FBI to identify and bring charges against all individuals involved making the threats.”

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