OPRF principal thanks community for support in wake of bomb scare

Police are still investigating origin of threat

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

A bomb threat received May 16 and reportedly intended for the next afternoon at Oak Park and River Forest High School was still under investigation on Monday, police said.

Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds said no arrests had yet been made in connection with the threat, which was discovered on the wall inside a stall in a boys' bathroom at the school. The threat referenced a disruption that would take place at a "particular time" on Thursday, according to a letter posted on the school's website that day from Principal Nathaniel Rouse.

"Although the police are continuing with their investigation, we are relieved that this appears to be a prank," the letter said.

Reynolds said last week that police had conducted interviews with students but could not say how many. A disorderly conduct charge would be likely for the person responsible for the threat.

A student outside the school on Thursday told Wednesday Journal the time referenced by the threat was 12:52 p.m. Some students in the lunchroom could be heard counting down from 10 as the clock approached that time, but nothing happened.

"We also were alerted to a copycat threat on the same floor [Thursday] morning in a girls' bathroom. The police were already on the scene and took photos of the threat," Rouse's letter indicated. Reynolds said he could not speak about the second threat or the time.

In an unrelated incident, police arrested a 14-year-old Oak Park boy on Thursday for disorderly conduct after they were given information about a Facebook posting that made reference to blowing up a school. Sgt. Michael Richardson said the boy was arrested at the alternative school he attends in the 6500 block of West North Avenue.

An email from Rouse to parents sent just after 5 p.m. on May 16 caused many of them to keep their kids home from school the next day at OPRF.

Freshman Mary Grace Detmer said she heard some class sizes were down to four people on Thursday. She and senior Jordan Jones said students didn't take the threat seriously, and some teachers continued to hold normal classes.

Rouse said staff was limiting hall passes and movement around the school during class time that day. Safety monitors have normal routes they take through the school but checked them more frequently during the day, including the bathrooms.

"Each time this happens, we are reminded about the resilience of our student body, and the support that we have from parents and our community. We are extremely proud of our students' behavior, compliance, and willingness to assist us today," the letter read.

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Posted: May 18th, 2012 3:20 PM

I think it was a hoax. Wouldnt a bomb placer/maker want the most people in one place if they were so deranged to do something that awful? Its not like Al Qaeda gave a warning before 911!! Glad everyone is safe.

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