Shell Casing Found at Lake Zurich High School then Social Media Threat Prompts Arrest of Student

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Two incidents at Lake Zurich High School caused confusing alerts from Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 Wednesday afternoon, September 15, 2021. First a bullet shell casing was found at the Lake Zurich High School campus, according to the district. The specific location of the shell casing was not initially disclosed. The discovery of the shell casing prompted a soft lockdown.

Next, a student posted an unspecified social media threat that the school district stated an act of violence was imminent at the school. The online threat prompted a hard lockdown at Lake Zurich High School and at May Whitney Elementary School in Lake Zurich. The specific details of the social media post, including the mechanism of the threat, the target of the threat and the social media outlet used, were not initially disclosed. The initial statement by the school district did not specify that the student was a Lake Zurich High School student.

The student was identified and located and was taken into custody by the Lake Zurich Police Department.

The hard lockdown ended shortly after police double-checked the inside and outside Lake Zurich High School.


Soft Lockdown

‘Soft Lockdown’ is term that usually defines a protocol in a school to respond to a threat outside the school without immediate threat to the students inside the school.

During a Soft Lockdown the building perimeter is secured with staff stationed at the doors. Visitors may not enter the building during a ‘soft lockdown.’ Teaching in classes proceeds as usual. Depending on the conditions or circumstances, class period changes are allowed.

Some schools release part-time employees in a ‘soft lockdown’ situation.

Hard Lockdown

A ‘Hard Lockdown’ is defined as a protocol that keeps students locked in their classrooms. Students are instructed to remain seated — out of sight through windows or doors. Lights are usually turned off and teaching lessons stop until the threat passes. ‘Hard Lockdowns’ are usually utilized when an intruder is known to be inside the building, or some other serious threat inside the building or on the school property is identified.

Some schools have protocols with options to collect cell phones with the objective of preventing misinformation or confusion of communication with friends and family outside of the school.

An investigation of the Lake Zurich High School incidents is underway, and initially it was not disclosed whether the student in custody responded with a social media threat to the earlier shell casing threat, or whether the student was responsible for both incidents.

Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 post at 3:00 p.m.

The hard lockdown at Lake Zurich High School has been LIFTED and there are no injuries.

After lifting a soft lockdown at the high school, a social media IMMEDIATE THREAT was posted by a student that indicated an act of violence was imminent at the school. The high school immediately followed protocols and called for a hard lockdown and 9-1-1 was called. May Whitney, due to it’s proximity of the high school, also went into a hard lockdown for a short period of time.

One student has been taken into custody by the Lake Zurich Police Department. The police department has swept the outside of the building and the inside of the building and has authorized the lifting of the hard lockdown and will go to a soft lockdown for the remainder of the school day. High School students will be dismissed by hallways at normal dismissal time of 3:21.

Please know that many students and staff are understandably upset by today’s incidents. We will be developing a plan to provide support. More information will be provided soon.

— Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 post at 3:00 p.m.



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