Threats made against Winnetka, Wilmette schools as well as several others across suburbs, police say
An individual called police Monday morning and made a threat of violence against North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, according to a statement from the Winnetka Police Department.
Around the same time Monday a call came into the Wilmette Police Department threatening Wilmette Junior High School, a message from Wilmette District 39 reads.
Schools and districts across the suburbs received similar calls, said Brian O’Connell, Winnetka’s interim police chief; though, citing the integrity of an ongoing investigation, he declined to provide further details on the nature of the threat or the other schools reportedly threatened.
Wheaton North High School in west suburban Community Unit School District 200 was one of the other schools threatened on Monday, according to a message from the district. The threat was called a false report by local police departments, the message said.
O’Connell, Wilmette 39 and District 200 called the threats “swatting,” which O’Connell said typically refers to false threats made from protected phone numbers that are unrelated to the community being threatened.
“We handled it seriously and handled it immediately and contributed a significant amount of resources to this,” he said about the NSCD threat.
In the local instances, police reportedly were quick to investigate and determine no threat existed.
Neither North Shore Country Day nor Wilmette Junior High were in session for students on Monday, Presidents Day, Feb. 20.
“The safety of all students and staff is our top priority,” Wilmette 39 Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli wrote in a statement. “We value our close partnership with the Wilmette Police Department and appreciate all that they do to help keep our community safe. We are incredibly grateful for our partnership with the police department and their quick and thorough review of the threat.”
O’Connell told The Record that individuals were on the NSCD School campus, which consists of multiple buildings at 310 Green Bay Road, when police responded. He said officers made contact with people present and “safety was maintained.”
A search of NSCD, a private institution that serves about 550 students in junior kindergarten through high school, resulted in the department deeming the threat not credible.
In a statement, North Shore Country Day School said, “All individuals who were on campus for various activities at the time are safe. WPD has shared that the incident remains under investigation. There will be an increased police presence on campus tomorrow.”
In response to the call police say they conducted a search of the campus off Green Bay and Willow roads and continues to work “closely with North Shore Country Day School staff on all aspects regarding this matter.”
The statement also said an increased police presence is at all local schools.
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319