Four teens arrested after unfounded threats at Palatine High School
Four juveniles, three of them Palatine High School students, are facing charges stemming from threats made on social media last week that sparked fears of a mass shooting on campus and kept hundreds of their classmates out of school for the day.
The teens, ranging between 14 to 17 years old, were identified as being involved in "the deliberate dissemination of false information which made others believe there would be a shooting at Palatine High School," police said Wednesday.
Charges against the teens, who are not being named because of their ages, include disorderly conduct and obstructing a police investigation.
The charges follow an investigation into rumors that surfaced March 4 indicating a former Palatine High student planned a mass shooting on campus the next day.
Palatine police said the rumors were perpetuated through a series of text messages and social media posts.
Because of the threats, only about half the school's students showed up for classes March 5, and only about 30 percent were present by the end of the day, school officials said.
After a thorough investigation, which involved searching multiple homes, conducting a significant number of formal interviews and in-depth evaluations of social media and cellular phone accounts, investigators were able to determine where the false information originated, police said Wednesday.
Along with the three current Palatine High students, a former student was among the teens arrested. All were released to the custody of their parents, police Cmdr. Craig Lesselyoung said. Their cases will be heard in Cook County juvenile court, police said.
Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 spokesman Tom Petersen said the district could not discuss possible disciplinary proceedings against the students.