Bomb threat reported at Oak Park River Forest High School

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By Staff Archive

A written bomb threat was discovered in a boys' bathroom at Oak Park and River Forest High School Wednesday afternoon. The threat referenced a disruption that would take place on Thursday afternoon, according to an e-mail message sent to parents just after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

In the notification, Nathaniel Rouse, the OPRF principal, said Oak Park police were immediately called and that there would be a heavier than usual police presence at the school Thursday. Rouse also said that the school's building and grounds and security staff have already checked the building and would continue to monitor the building more closely than usual through the evening and overnight.

"We are taking this seriously and are putting into place the necessary precautions," Rouse said in the e-mail. OPRF will open as normal on Thursday. "At this time we do not believe that staff or students are in any imminent danger."

Rouse said that parents could certainly decide not to send their children to school Thursday and he also urged students who hear or see anything suspicious to report it to an adult.

A similar threat occured in November 2010, when OPRF janitors found a bomb threat written in a boys' bathroom. 

Reader Comments

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OP Guy  

Posted: May 18th, 2012 10:26 PM

Mom, what if those additional tacked on days become "bomb threat days" too? Seems like it could potentially become an endless downward spiral.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 18th, 2012 11:23 AM

I think that's a good idea Mom with ideas.

Mom with ideas from Oak Park  

Posted: May 18th, 2012 10:48 AM

I have an idea. How about we create "Bomb Threat Days". They could be handled just like snow days. If a certain number is exceeded, additional days are tacked on to the end of the school year. (Before I get any nasty comments, please do not take my idea seriously:-))

Dan in RF  

Posted: May 18th, 2012 8:04 AM

To Resident, Thanks for the feedback, but I obviously meant genius in the least flattering way possible. Would a real genius opine in a bathroom stall? But you have to admit, if your goal is to disrupt the school day, the current example is more effective than the old false alarm ploy. If such threats continue, the school will need to come up with a way to hopefully discern credible threats from pranks. I suspect the administration is scheduling meetings on that subject as you read this.

Free speech?  

Posted: May 18th, 2012 1:48 AM

Yeah, I don't know why the comments section has to be mediated so heavily. I think that it's healthy to know what people are thinking, regardless of whether we like or agree with what they think. Sure, there will be some racists, but there will also be people with thoughtful comments... isn't that the type of discussion that brings about change? Not just the type where everyone is 100% P.C. and agrees with everyone else. It's important to discuss these issues openly, not the sanitized version.

Isn't this why we're here  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 11:43 PM

@Free Speech: I agree with your comment. These on-line posts are the reason I tune into the Journal. Sure, there are very thoughtful responses and just the same, there is the occasional jerk that crawls out from under the rock. Either way, shouldn't they be heard?

Free speech?  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 11:04 PM

Regarding the other 2 recent topics (Chicago men beat Oak Park teen girls, and 2 Chicago criminals rob 7-11), I wondered how long it would take before the WJ would the comments down regardless of the fact that the comments began to open up real issues that need to be addressed. I guess we should just sweep everything under the rug and keep stuffing our faces i all the Oak Park cup cake shops to keep ourselves content with the way things are.


Posted: May 17th, 2012 10:59 PM

Dan, it's interesting what you consider "genius". I'm not sure what that says about you, but imagine if all the "genius's" at OPRF started writing such threats to the point where no one flinches, and then one day a treat actually came to be with nobody prepared... Ever heard of "boy cried wolf"? In such a situation, the people that wrote such threats as a "prank" directly put everyone else at more risk by, 1. not being made an example of, and 2. having everyone lower their guards.

Dan in RF  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 6:04 PM

When did writing on a bathroom stall get taken seriously? For a good explosion call.... Kids do seem smarter than when I went to OPRF. Back in the day someone would pull a fire alarm and we would all go outside for fifteen minutes. Now some genius scribbles in a stall and half the school takes a day off.

R of RF from River Forest  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 3:06 PM

If an incident from 40 years ago is the best the media can dig up on Romney, then I'm definitely voting for him. Drug use hurts many people besides the user. And by the way, crime rates are up, even accouring toliberally biased sources:

Martin Crane  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 2:03 PM

In my opinion, bullying of the type Romney is accused of is different from drug use in terms of who the victim is. Hurting yourself vs. hurting others less powerful (he was son of sitting governor). Whimpering about the non-objective nature of the media is an example of cognitive dissonance as long as Fox News, Townhall, etc. exists. It's 2012, not 1988, there are more than 3 networks. Are you equally skeptical of the anti-Obama anecdotes and reports? I bet not.

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 1:47 PM

Mr Crane, I am very,very skeptical of the account described in the Wash Post. To assume this is a random, objective news story shows a sincere lack of thought. A hazing incident as a teen is apparently no more relevant than teen drug use (Obama's). Mike, Axelrod could be a spawn of Atwater, but more likely from Daley, Inc. Remember also that Willie Horton was researched & brought to light first & foremost by AL GORE.

mike op  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 1:35 PM

Great post muriel, except for the fact that crime rates are declining. Even with all the sensationalistic coverage of violent crime that the press uses to seel ads, violent crime is also down. But don't let the facts get in the way of a good narrative. By the way my kid is in school today. I asked if he was worried and he looked at me like I was nuts. Although to be fair as a 17 year old he looks at me like I'm nuts several times a day.I think you may need some home visitation, whatever that is.

muriel schnierow from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 12:47 PM

To zupke-"Get a grip' is not an answer to rising crime rates. they are a problem and just look them up. as for Romney ,i was bullied in my freshman year at high school by 6 senior football players.If i was thrown to the ground and my hair cut off i wouldnt have gone back to school .Bullying is not a joke nor is crime Zupke. Use your brain or someone will use it for you.!


Posted: May 17th, 2012 12:46 PM

@R. French. I'm with you. My kid is at school today. Is there a risk? Of course - a lot in life is risky. Is it likely a prank? Yes. BTW, my kids didn't receive any "home visitations" (and what is that? By whom? For what?) or even attend pre-school. And, amazingly, they have no police record, take no meds, and are top students!?! Perhaps it's because they didn't know Mitt or that their parents taught them a "moral compass" without the assistance of govt employees!?! Lots like them, too!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 11:16 AM

Martin Crane, Mitt Romney couldn't admit to that specific case because there have been many other incidents that he was involved.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 11:15 AM

Resident, you are absolutely correct for the students getting a day off and they probably don't take it as serious as the people responsible for their safety and that is understandable. What is bothersome is grown adults that should know the difference.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 11:13 AM

Roger French from Oak Park, there is no sense in explaining anything to you that would help you understand better what is involved with an incident like this.

mike from op  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 11:05 AM

@NOPE David Axelrod is just the democratic spawn of Lee Atwater and the ghost of Willie Horton.

Roger French from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 10:35 AM

Q, et al. get a grip . Yes it is a prank. It is not a terrorist act, BY DEFINITION. And, it calls for study into why our children did this, NOT blind rage, fear , and/or punitive measures. Please exercise some critical thinking, folks.


Posted: May 17th, 2012 10:35 AM

Q, you're right. I was only using the word "prank" because a few others here through it out, but it really is not a prank, but a serious threat. And serious threats should be taken seriously, and punishment should be equally serious. I remember when we had a few bomb threats in high school, students didn't take it seriously, but were happy with the free day they got, and it turned out to be some kid... but they would not have been laughing if a bomb had gone off.

Martin Crane  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 10:29 AM

So, are you denying that Romney did it, or are you saying that it doesn't matter? You are entitled to your opinion that it doesn't matter (others may disagree), but if you deny it happened, that's another story. Please advise. Where does the victim's family dismiss it? Citation, please. Thanks.

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 10:15 AM

Mr. Crane, please...stop with this nonsense. The rest of the country has already dismissed it, and most important, so has the alleged victim's family. The "journalism" around this non-story is as heinous as anything in recent memory, and smells of the evil David Axelrod. I'm sure there'll be more drivel that the Billion Dollar warchest will vomit out to the country, but it's not working now and won't going forward.

Ghost Of Zuppke from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 10:08 AM

Parent, I respectfully disagree. The refutation of a rant does not automatically constitute a rant in and of itself. My retort of Muriel was thoughtful, reasoned, and measured. My tone was respectful, yet pointedly sarcastic. Above all, it was sent with good feelings and love, even while disagreeing with and being bemused by her incredibly witless content.

Martin Crane  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 10:05 AM

Sounds like we have a young Mitt Romney on our hands, except what Romney did in high school was the meanest, vilest type of hazing imaginable. The fact that he pretends to not remember it shows that he too is a liar. The difference between Romney and GWB is that Bush would have made the kid with "strange" hair part of the joke and got him a beer (or some blow), and Romney instead victimized him. But, as always, I blame Mann parents for the bomb scare (and Mitt Romney).

Parent of OPRF Student  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 9:03 AM

Ghost, reading is a indeed a skill. So is writing. Re-read your initial post. That posting is as much a rant against Muriel as her posting was a "rant". I am glad that your second comment clarifies your position to the threat at the school rather than someone's response to that threat.

Ghost of Zuppke from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 8:39 AM

Fellow posters: Reading, like listening, is a skill. My reply to Muriel was focused on her nonsensical rant, not OPRF's response to the perceived threat. I think OPRF's actions are 100% correct and support them fully. The perp(s), whether this was a "prank" or serious threat, needs to be dealt with severely (& frankly, I think waterboarding is appropriate in either case). I was merely pointing out the loony nature of Muriel's post.

Parent of OPRF student  

Posted: May 17th, 2012 8:26 AM

99.99% of the time it is a prank; someone didn't finish their report on Hamlet. But if it happens to be the .01% where it is not a prank, and the school did nothing, Ghost and Roger would be the first ones to jump on the soap box and lament that their tax dollars are supporting a school that doesn't take these terrorist threats seriously. By the way, I wanted to send my child to school. My spouse felt that the precaution was necessary.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2012 11:04 PM

I don't understand why Roger, Former and Resident use the work "Prank". That is far from what a prank is. This is a note from someone who has made a threat against human life and property and classifies as a terrorist act because it does cause terror. A day off or expulsion is not what something this person/person's would be getting if the person/person's can be identified. This person/person's has also caused extra cost and time with more security.


Posted: May 16th, 2012 10:57 PM

If it is a prank, the prankster should receive some seriously harsh punishment, equal to a person that has the intent to set off a bomb. The prankster is either an attention whore who wants to do something to cause a big reaction, or wants a day off... either way, the fear that such antics cause some students and parents is enough to warrant expulsion and legal action. The guy is obviously trying to make up for the little something he has...

Former Huskie  

Posted: May 16th, 2012 9:55 PM

Although it is most likely a prank, the school and the police department still need to take proper precautions in the event it really isn't a prank. It is very good to hear that there will be extra security and police there tomorrow.

Roger French from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2012 9:26 PM

ghost is likely correct

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2012 8:24 PM

Ghost of Zuppke from Oak Park, that is not a prank and should be taken to the greatest level of caution. It is not a prank to pull a fire alarm either.

Ghost of Zuppke from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2012 7:59 PM

Whoa, Muriel. Where in God's name did that rant come from? What you have here is a prank from some numbskull who doesn't want to take his math test tomorrow. He (since it is the boys bathroom) likely is a good kid from a nice OP or RF family and knew there would be a big overreaction. Geez, get a grip, lady!

muriel schnierow from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2012 6:22 PM

As long as we tolerate a violent society, guns, drugs, and enforced prostitution, for example we will have "copy cat " crimes or attempted crimes. We took our eye off the ball after WW2, and we are paying the price or perhaps our children are paying the price. the time to teach moral compass is during the first 5 years of life. That includes Home Visitation for Birth Mothers and affordable pre school for all.!!!

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