Several parents have wondered on the School District U46 Facebook group why the Elgin district called a lockdown last week at South Elgin High School but not last month at Elgin High School.
You've probably heard about the lockdown at South Elgin by now. If not, I went over it again in today's cover story, "Secure schools: Lockdowns just one way to make them -- and students -- safer." The short version is police had received reports of an armed and intoxicated man at the high school.
But you may not have heard about the incident last month at Elgin. I asked U46 Safety Coordinator John Heiderscheidt about it while researching today's story. Here's what he said happened:
On Wednesday, Oct. 19, a caller told police he had overheard another man talking about a bomb at Elgin High School, according to Heiderscheidt. It wasn't a "bomb scare." It wasn't a very credible threat. But it was "suspicious," he said.
Credible or not, district officials still searched the building, assisted by Elgin police. But no doors were locked, and no message was sent home, according to the safety coordinator.
That's because, he said, "The difference between the two is pretty dynamic."
Parents were alerted to the incident at South Elgin High School because it was "a major disruption" -- the school was locked down for nearly an hour and surrounded by police, Heiderscheidt said. ConnectEd messages are sent by the district in an emergency, he said, whereas a call about the incident at Elgin High School would have been "informational."
There wasn't a lockdown, he said, because there was no threat inside the building to hide from, like the rumored gunman at South Elgin.
-- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter