QC school officials, police nationwide address threats of school shootings Friday

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Rock Island High School

School and police officials across the country are addressing threats on social media that Friday, Dec. 17 is “American School Shooting Day,” targeting every school in the U.S.

Dr. Reginald Lawrence, superintendent of the Rock Island-Milan School District 41, wrote Thursday to staff and families on the district website:

“We learned of a TikTok rumor today that is being shared on social media. It is an anonymous, general threat toward all U.S. schools that declares Friday, Dec. 17, as ‘American School Shooting Day.’ The posts warn about the possibility of nationwide shootings or bomb threats associated with this day.  

“We have shared the information with the Rock Island Police and Milan Police Departments,” Lawrence wrote. “They are investigating on their end. At this time, law enforcement has not seen any evidence that would deem these threats as credible. However, out of an abundance of caution, our district will be in continual contact with law enforcement tomorrow.

“Please take this opportunity to talk with your students about the seriousness and resulting consequences of making any kind of threat,” the message said. “If they see or hear something to please report it to school administration immediately or call law enforcement. All safety concerns to our school district and to staff and students are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

“We want to keep you informed and we want to be aware of our surroundings at all times and make safety the top priority in RIMSD #41. There have been no threats made specifically to any school in the Rock Island-Milan School District at this time, and we are sharing this information out of an abundance of caution.”

Central DeWitt superintendent Dan Peterson sent out a similar letter Thursday, noting he contacted law enforcement and police are not aware of any such threat being credible.

“Any threat against schools is extremely concerning, regardless of where this threat is being generated.  As soon as we became aware of this threat, I contacted our local law enforcement to make sure they are aware,” he wrote. “At this time, law enforcement does not have any evidence that would deem these threats as credible in our area, but we believe that acknowledging that this threat exists and informing the community is important.  We all need to be as vigilant as possible in the event that evidence exists that such an event may happen. Local law enforcement and school personnel will continue to actively monitor the situation.

“Please take this opportunity to talk with your students about the appropriate use of social media, and the seriousness and resulting consequences of making any kind of threat,” Peterson said. “Encourage your students to speak with you or an adult at school if they see or hear something so immediate action can be taken. In addition, if anyone in our community sees something suspicious, please report it to the school immediately and call local law enforcement.”

Bettendorf superintendent Michelle Morse posted this on the district website Thursday:

“The general threat toward all U.S. schools declares Friday, Dec. 17, as ‘American School Shooting Day.’ The posts warn about the possibility of nationwide shootings or bomb threats associated with this day.

“We are partnering with local law enforcement to investigate whether there are any local connections to these social media posts,” she wrote. “At this time, law enforcement has not acquired any evidence that would deem these threats as credible in our area. Out of an abundance of caution, our schools will be in close contact with law enforcement throughout the day on Friday.

“Please take this opportunity to talk with your student(s) about the appropriate use of social media, and the seriousness and resulting consequences of making any kind of threat. Encourage your student(s) to speak with you or an adult at school if they see or hear something so immediate action can be taken.”

Many other Quad-City school districts, including Bettendorf, posted similar messages.

Among other school districts, several in the Chicago area have made similar moves. There are posts circulating on TikTok raising awareness about the threats and encouraging students to stay home on Dec. 17.

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