School administrators and law enforcement officials initiated an evacuation of Lemont High School in Chicago’s western suburbs on December 2 after they received a bomb threat, which turned out to be a hoax after all, the Daily Southtown reports.
About 1,400 students were sent home on buses or allowed to drive home, while some were transported to an off-campus location to be picked up by parents. News reports say a threatening email message was received at about 9:30 AM, and students left the building at the end of their second-hour class in an orderly manner.
Lemont High School District 210 Superintendent Dr. Mary Ticknor and Lemont Police Department Chief Marc Maton are providing the following update concerning today’s evacuation of Lemont High School.
After receiving a bomb threat this morning, Lemont High School evacuated its campus upon the advice of local law enforcement authorities. A precautionary evacuation was performed in an effort ensure the safety of its students, faculty and staff.
School administrators enacted emergency dismissal procedures. Students who are bus riders were taken home via their normal routes; students who walk to school were instructed to proceed home as normal; and students who drive to campus—as well as those students who ride with them—were instructed to proceed to their cars and leave campus.
The remaining students, as well as the school’s faculty and staff, were transported to an off-site location. Parents/guardians of these students were able to pick up these students at the alternate location.
Local law enforcement agencies are working together to ensure the building is safe and to investigate the threat that was made. Specific information concerning the content of the threatening message is part of the investigation and cannot be shared.
Lemont High School has postponed its girls’ basketball games that were scheduled for December 2 against Reavis.
An article last month in the Cook County Chronicle featured comments from concerned citizens that the high school had banned a book entitled The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. The accusation that the district banned the book is false, although school officials did say it was used in an English class without the school board’s knowledge or approval.
“This book contains subject matter in some sections that is not age-appropriate for the students who were reading the book; the questionable passages were not assigned for students to read,” Principal Eric Michaelsen wrote in response to the accusations.
The book deals with India’s caste system, in which the “Untouchables” were treated with great disrespect, held the lowliest of jobs, and were made to live in subhuman conditions.
If there’s a connection between the bomb threat and the tension in the community over this exaggerated report, he said that would be “hard to fathom and completely out of bounds.” But if a man can fire a gun inside a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., based on fabricated conspiracy theories reported as news, we have to assume someone can send an email message with a bomb threat based on comments from a community about banning books.
“Lemont High School District 210’s faculty, staff, administration and Board of Education take very seriously the quality of education that is provided to our students,” Mr Michaelsen added. “This level of care has made Lemont High School one of Chicagoland’s top high schools.”