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Middle school girl admits to bomb threat that caused upheaval at Lemont schools

Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 4:46 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:48 a.m. CST
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LEMONT – A female Lemont middle school student has been charged with disorderly conduct after admitting Tuesday to writing the bomb threat that caused unrest among parents, school administrators and law enforcement in the Lemont area.

“Incidents like this are disturbing,” said Lemont Police Chief Kevin Shaughnessy. “They traumatize children. They create a fear in the minds of parents.”

The girl is being charged as a juvenile and her case will be handled within the Cook County juvenile justice system, Shaughnessy said.

Repercussions could range from station adjustment, which entails documenting the incident locally and possible community service, to time in a juvenile detention center.

District 113A Superintendent Susan Birkenmaier said the bomb threat is classified as a level three disciplinary infraction, the consequences of which could include a 10-day suspension, expulsion hearing or restitution of property, according to the district's student handbook.

The threat, which parents were notified about on Sunday, was written on an exterior wall at Oakwood School and stated that “Oakwood will be bombed on 5/7/13.”

Buildings and grounds at Oakwood and River Forest schools were searched by the Cook County Sheriff's K-9 unit, Lemont Police Department and school district staff, but no evidence of a bomb was discovered.

Lemont police were present on school grounds all day Monday and overnight through Tuesday.

The cost for law enforcement response to the threat totaled thousands of dollars, Shaughnessy said.

Neither Oakwood nor River Valley went into lockdown mode in response to the threat, but district officials increased hallway supervision and bag checks on Monday and Tuesday as a precautionary measure.

Attendance rates dropped significantly at both schools in the days that followed the threat, according to district administration, with 20 percent fewer students attending classes Monday and 35 percent fewer in attendance Tuesday.

“I'm disappointed that it had such a disruptive effect on so many students' education,” Birkenmaier said. “It impacted everybody.”

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