Chatham Police officers were at Ball-Chatham district schools Tuesday morning after the administration was made aware of an online threat Monday evening.
Police were at the schools “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a letter from Superintendent Becca Lamon sent to parents.
Chatham Police Chief Vernon Foli said two officers were at each of the district’s six schools and he expected officers to be at schools in some capacity the rest of the week.
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Foli said there were no incidents at any of the schools Tuesday morning.
Illinois State Police officers in unmarked squad cars assisted Chatham police, said Zach Baliva, a spokesman for the Ball-Chatham district.
Baliva said police authorities don’t think the person posting threats via Instagram was a student in the district or even living in the U.S.
The Internet Protocol, or IP, address appeared to be from the United Arab Emirates, Foli said. He said that a server could be stored in the UAE with the message originating from elsewhere.
“We’re waiting for subpoenas and search warrants to come back as far as where the IP address is coming from,” Foli added.
In her letter, Lamon said the threat follows the pattern of numerous hoaxes reported by other school districts last year, in which “the intent is to cause disruption to school systems and communities.
“Safety is always our top priority,” Lamon added.
The district has school safety officers, who are civilian, though some have former law enforcement experience, Baliva said.
“They are not uniformed officers,” he said.
School safety officers regularly monitor social media and investigate alleged threats, Baliva added.
Foli said the department was working with the district to get a full-time school resource officer in position by the beginning of 2024.
The district schools do not have metal detectors at their entrances, Baliva said.
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