Old Quarry Middle School investigates bomb threat

Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 6:59 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 8:17 p.m. CDT

Law enforcement authorities will be on heightened alert Wednesday at Old Quarry Middle School after a student reported Tuesday that a bomb threat had been written on a bathroom wall.

The school was underwent a "soft" lockdown Tuesday afternoon after the threat was reported, Mary Gricus, assistant superintendent of Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A, wrote in an email. Superintendent Susan Birkenmaier and Old Quarry Principal Bill Caron collaborated with members of the Lemont Police Department to investigate the incident, Gricus said.

The nature of the threat was not revealed until later Tuesday when Birkenmaier released a copy of a letter written by Caron to parents.

"This afternoon, we received information from a student that a bomb threat message had been written on a bathroom wall. The threat indicated that Old Quarry would be bombed tomorrow, March 13," Caron writes in the letter. "To ensure student and staff safety, a lockdown was implemented and the Lemont Police Department was contacted. Our students remained in lockdown until regular dismissal at 2:30 p.m.

"During the lockdown, we did a search of the halls and washrooms and did not allow students to leave their classroom. At dismissal time, students were instructed to leave their backpacks outside of their lockers. On-campus after-school activities were cancelled, and Old Quarry School is closed until 7:20 a.m. Wednesday morning. Before-school activities have also been cancelled for Wednesday morning, March 13. Student belongings are secured.

"After the students had cleared the building, Cook County bomb squad canine units did an extensive search of the building, backpacks, lockers and classrooms," according to Caron's letter. "At this time, all agencies involved conclude that there is not a credible threat to our students or staff and recommend we resume our normal activities on March 13, 2013.

"As a precautionary measure, we will increase hallway supervision and may check bags that are brought to school in the morning. There may be additional police presence in the morning as students arrive to further ensure our student and staff safety. This situation was isolated to Old Quarry Middle School and does not affect Oakwood or River Valley schools. Our students and staff responded appropriately to this situation, and we will continue to put the safety of all the Old Quarry Middle School students and staff in the forefront of our actions."

Birkenmaier said that students will not be held responsible for any homework missed during the lockdown. District officials will continue working with police to determine who issued the threat, she said.

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