CHICAGO — Two Chicago public schools have alerted parents in recent days of “threatening statements” made on social media, including a threat to shoot two people at Marine Leadership Academy in Logan Square.
Another online threat was reported Tuesday involving Pulaski International School in Bucktown.
The threats come less than two weeks after a deadly school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, that has grabbed national attention. Schools in Michigan and Indiana have reported a spike in online threats since the Oxford shooting.
On Monday afternoon, “an on-scene witness” at Marine Leadership Academy told officers they had “received audio and video threats from an unknown offender,” a police spokesperson said in an email.
“The offender stated they were going to shoot a 40-year-old female victim and a 38-year-old female victim while at the school,” the police spokesperson said.
In an email to parents, Principal Kristin Novy said the school is working with the Police Department to conduct an investigation, and, “as a result, the individuals involved with these social media posts have been identified.”
Novy said due to privacy issues, the school was unable to share any further details, but “it has been confirmed that there are no credible threats and our students and staff are not in any danger.”
The next day, a social media threat was made involving Pulaski International School, 2230 W. McLean Ave. in Bucktown.
“An unknown offender had been sending threatening messages of harming another unknown individual at a school. No injuries were reported,” the police spokesperson said.
In an email to parents, Pulaski Principal Diana Racasi confirmed the social media posts, but she did not share specifics on what they contained.
“Earlier today, the school was made aware of social media posts that contained statements that included threatening language,” Racasi said in a Tuesday night email to Pulaski parents. “The school followed CPS protocol and notified the CPS Office of Safety and Security and the Chicago Police Department.”
Racasi wrote that, based on a preliminary investigation, “there is no safety threat to our school,” but extra security presence would be present at the school Wednesday.
After the incidents at both schools became public this week, parents took to social media to expresses frustration and anger at administrators for what they said has been a lack of transparency.
“I brought my kids to school today. I don’t see any police, I don’t see any security people out here. Everything looks normal,” Sandra Cervantes, whose two children are enrolled at Marine Leadership Academy, told Block Club. “I was expecting to see more cops around here because of the threats that have been made, and nothing like that. I haven’t heard back from the principal, either. She hasn’t sent me an email yet. I emailed her three times already; I haven’t heard back from her.”
This is the latest controversy to come out of Marine Leadership Academy in recent weeks. The Logan Square school is grappling with a wide-ranging sexual abuse scandal that led to the firing of more than 10 school employees.
And last week, a Chicago Public Schools staffer at the school was removed from his job after sending an anti-vaccine email to parents.
Cervantes said it’s all had a lasting impact on her two high schoolers.
“They are scared to be in school. They didn’t want to come today, but their education is important for me. Especially since its only months away from graduation,” Cervantes said.
Pulaski parent Pati, who has two children attending the school and asked not to use her last name for safety reasons, said she was angry parents were not alerted about the posts earlier Tuesday.
The police spokesperson said the incident was reported about 8 a.m. Tuesday. The email from Racasi arrived 10:39 p.m., according to a copy provided to Block Club.
“I don’t think enough detail was given, and … especially when you have little kids in the same building as these situations, you need to make that very known to the parents. And you don’t continue. This is not a performance. The show must not go on. These are kids’ lives that you’re talking about,” Pati said.
In a statement, a CPS spokesperson reiterated what Marine Leadership Academy and Pulaski administrators told parents.
Multiple CPS spokespeople did not respond to questions about whether the threats at either school were gun-related. Neither school principal responded to requests for comment.
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