A Matthews Middle School student who brought a loaded gun to school Monday was taken into custody and the weapon was confiscated without incident, Island Lake Police said.
No one was injured, and school officials lauded two students who alerted administrators about the classmate who carried the .25-caliber, semiautomatic handgun in his pants pocket.
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"The students who came forward with the information should be commended for their actions," Wauconda Unit District 118 Superintendent Daniel J. Coles said during a news conference. "Those students did the right thing."
The name, age, and grade of the student with the gun are being withheld by police and the district because he is a juvenile, officials said. The student faces disciplinary action from school officials and the Lake County State's Attorney's Office.
The gun was found shortly after two students went to the principal just after classes began Monday at 7:45 a.m. and said a fellow student had the weapon in his pants pocket, Coles said.
Two administrators pulled the student out of class and asked him to empty his pockets, and he produced the pistol. The gun was confiscated and the student was taken to the principal's office where police were called, Coles said.
Officials locked down the middle school at 3500 Darrell Road and police conducted a thorough investigation to check for other threats, Police Chief William McCorkle said. A search dog also was brought in to check lockers, backpacks, bathrooms and other areas of the building, he said.
When officials were satisfied there were no additional problems, the lockdown was lifted about 11:10 a.m., he added.
About 20 parents attended a 1:30 p.m. news conference at Island Lake village hall and complained about a lack of communication from the district.
Coles said email messages and phone calls went out to parents at 12:20 p.m., more than an hour after the lockdown was lifted and three hours after the student was in custody.
"It's ridiculous that they waited so long to tell us anything," said parent Jaunino Moore. "I understand that an investigation needed to be conducted, but they have to stop and take 10 minutes to tell parents something at some point."
Coles said administrators released information as quickly as possible under the circumstances, and the most important thing was the health and safety of staff and students.
Coles said the administration and staff planned an assembly Monday to inform the student body of what had happened and to emphasize students did the right thing by immediately informing an adult.
He also said the administration will review the situation and determine what changes can made in the future to potentially contact parents sooner.
The student will be charged in juvenile court with disorderly conduct, reckless conduct, and unlawful use of a weapon against the student, McCorkle said. Information about a court date was not available.
He also said it was unclear where the student obtained the gun, and whether more charges could be filed later.
"That's all part of the investigation," he said.
Coles said counselors will be available Tuesday for students and parents who feel the need to talk to someone.
Coles said the school does not employ a school resource officer, but a police officer will be hand in the hallways to help with student safety Tuesday.