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UPDATE: 14-Year- Old Arrested After Four Springfield Schools Receive Bomb Threats

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS
District 186 and SPD make remarks after four schools receive bomb threats.

UPDATE: Springfield Police have arrested a 14-year-old male in connection with the bomb threats. He was charged with four felony counts of disorderly conduct and is being held at the Sangamon County Juvenile Detention Facility. 

ORIGINAL: Springfield Police have detained a local juvenile as a person of interest after four Springfield schools received bomb threats early Thursday morning. Law enforcement officials are investigating whether anyone else was involved.

Beginning around 8:40 a.m., Lanphier, Southeast, and Springfield High Schools all received calls to their offices. The Franklin Middle School threat was called in to Springfield Police.

Police Chief Kenny Winslow said all students were quickly and safely evacuated and no bombs were found. “Incidents of mass violence, mass homicides and causalities is a concern for all of us in this country. It should be on our radar. We take this very serious; we train for this. The school district trains for this and we’re not going to tolerate these types of threats.”

Even if it's a prank, such false alarms are considered class 3 felonies. Dan Wright of the Sangamon County State's Attorney's Office said that penalty carries a possible sentence of 2-5 years in jail and fines up to $10,000. In addition, the person responsible could be required to reimburse the school district and emergency personnel for all expenses associated with their response. 

This is the second such threat for Southeast and Springfield High Schools this year. It is unclear if the detained juvenile is connected with any of the previous threats. Jason Wind, Director of School Support, wants it to stop. 

“We’d like to snuff it out as quick as possible because this is not something we want to engage in on a weekly or biweekly basis," said Wind. "We continue to work with the police department, the state’s attorney’s office and like I said, we will prosecute if we find this individual and prosecute to the fullest.”

Police gave the “all clear” about three hours after each school was evacuated. Both District 186 and the Springfield Police Department are please with their quick and efficient response. 

"Unfortunately we've had practice with this," said Wind. "We continue to work through and make things better."

Some parents said they did not receive any calls from the school notifying them of any bomb threat. The district acknowledged the issue and said they are working to have it quickly resolved. 

"It's something our technology department is working on on our end and also that we're in communication with on our vendors end," said District 186 spokesperson Bree Hankins. "We are aware of the issues and we're working on that." 

Due to the bomb threat, Thursday was technically considered an "interrupted school day" The Illinois State Board of Education will determine if the day will have to be made up at some point throughout the year. 

Jaclyn has an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a BS in History form Monmouth College. Prior to reporting, Jaclyn was a social science teacher and department chair at Greenfield High School. Previously, Jaclyn reported for WICS Newschannel 20 where she covered a variety of assignments including courts, politics, and breaking news. She also reported at Siouxland News in Sioux City Iowa, the shared CBS/Fox television newsroom. Her internships included WGN and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago.
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