Police announce suspect as Naperville school officials criticized over response to threats
As police confirmed a suspect in last week's threat against Naperville North High School, Naperville Unit District 203 officials faced criticism over the response to numerous recent threats to schools.
After listening to parents vent their frustration at Monday's school board meeting about how they were notified and how students were handled during three incidents in the last month -- a Sept. 22 bomb threat at Naperville North and unspecified threats Friday and Monday -- District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges said an out-of-state juvenile suspect has been identified by police and federal authorities in connection with Friday's incident.
Naperville police Cmdr. Michaus Williams said no charges have been filed and no further information could be provided because the suspect is a juvenile. Williams said the Sept. 22 incident and Monday's threat against a Naperville high school remain under investigation.
"I'm extremely disappointed in how this has been handled, the lack of communication and information that has been shared with the parents," said Naperville North parent Allison Childs. "As a parent, I am tired of preparing myself weekly for getting these kinds of messages, usually from my student first before being notified by the school or district."
Other parents were concerned about continuing school activities with the investigations still going.
"(Monday) I had to go and pick up my kids," said Naperville North parent Mohammad Siddique. "I walked into the school. I could have walked in with a gun. ... That is how poor the security was."
Stressing "our students and staff were kept safe throughout the incident," district officials said Tuesday that while parents were allowed to enter Naperville North's foyer using the exterior doors, access to the main school building remained secure behind a second set of locked doors.
"We are in the middle of a threat now," Siddique added Monday. "Tomorrow morning at 7 o'clock when my kids get ready for school, I have an uncontained threat. It doesn't matter what the principal says about how contained this is."
Bridges noted the numerous safety drills students and staff members participate in throughout the school year. He also encouraged people not to spread rumors about threats, which Naperville 203 officials said occurred Tuesday with a Naperville Central High School student who received unsubstantiated information that quickly spread.
"I share the same frustration," Bridges said. "I share the same anxiety. I share all the same feelings. And I will add to it anger that this type of disruption is occurring within our schools. Unfortunately on a somewhat frequent basis at this time.
"We will do our best to continue to communicate with our families the information that we can communicate."