Student charged with threat against Lake Park
A 16-year-old Lake Park sophomore has been released to his parents on home detention while facing two felony charges for making a threat against his high school.
Assistant State's Attorney Louisa Nuckolls said the boy grew "annoyed" with social media chatter associated with a threat of violence on Friday that police found was not credible, but still forced both Lake Park campuses to cancel classes.
Nuckolls said the boy posted a video to Snapchat Friday afternoon in which he wrote "Ya'll need to shut up about the school shooting" and then issued a threat. He used a hashtag that referenced a "post-apocalyptic war video game."
"He admitted he was annoyed with the rumors and thought it would be funny to post a video," Nuckolls said, making her case for the teen to be remanded to the children's detention facility.
Assistant Public Defender Colleen Price said the boy appeared to be holding a video game controller and playing the game when he posted the social media video.
"His words were in poor taste, but that is not grounds to keep him detained," Price said. "(Prosecutors) want to make an example out of him, but the state has presented no evidence that would make you believe he is a threat to the public or public property."
Nuckolls said a school resource officer at Lake Park learned of the video threat Monday morning, which led Roselle police to search the boy's home. Detectives said they found no weapons.
"This was very surprising to all of us in the home. He is calm and respectful," the boy's father told Judge Robert Anderson, through an interpreter. "He recognizes this is a bad joke and this is not the time to make those kind of jokes."
Sheri Anderson, Lake Park spokeswoman, said a student informed the school resource officer Monday of "a social media platform that showed a direct threat."
Classes continued as scheduled at both of Lake Park's campuses on Monday. At one point, Anderson said officials made a loudspeaker announcement letting students know a threat had been made and a student had been taken into custody.
She said students responded with applause.
"They want to continue on and have some normalcy in their day and not live in threat and fear," Anderson said of Lake Park's 2,600 students.
The see-something, say-something approach taken by the student who notified the school resource officer helped preserve that normalcy, Anderson said.
"Having a student come forward with this information was critical," she said. "For students to come forward and speak to trusted adults, that's exactly what we need to happen."
The boy's mother told Judge Anderson that school officials suspended her son from school for the rest of the week. Once he is allowed to return to school, the home confinement order will allow him to go to school, work and church.
Anderson also banned the boy from using social media and prohibited him from playing violent video games.
"Play Mario Kart all you want," Anderson told the boy.
The boy will return to court on March 12 for a status update on his home confinement. He must return again on April 2 with a private attorney because Anderson ruled the family does not qualify for a public defender.
This is at least the fifth case of a threat against a school made by students across the suburbs since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Davis High School in Parkland, Florida.
Two Mundelein High School students, a former Streamwood High School student, a Round Lake Beach teen and an Aurora student all have been charged with disorderly conduct resulting from social media posts containing potential threats against schools.