Police make new wave of school threats a top priority

STATELINE, Ill. (WIFR) ----- With classes in session for less than a month, students and teachers are dealing with a recent wave of threats targeting local school districts.

"Whether the student presents it to a teacher, or a parent or an administrator in the school or the police department, it's a priority," said Rockford Police Sergeant Timothy Speltz.

After the recent school threats at Jefferson and Belvidere North High Schools, police are focusing on where the new interest is coming from.

"With social media being the way it is and people are able to access it with what they believe to be anonymity, and they feel empowered to do these things, thinking that nobody's going to be able to figure out who did it," said Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody.

Working directly with school resource officers across the city, Sergeant Timothy Speltz says it's their job to identify which students are making threats and drive home how dangerous it is.

"Most of the time, thankfully, it would be a student trying to get some type of attention or we've also had students, they thought it was fun, not realizing the seriousness of the threat that they made and the potential consequences they could suffer," said Sgt. Speltz.

Chief Woody says it will take a team effort between the parents, teachers and students to make sure future threats are prevented.

"This is not a joke, this is something that police take very seriously, the school district takes very seriously and we will work with the State's Attorney's office to hold anybody and everybody accountable that makes an active shooter threat," said Chief Woody.

Both Chief Woody and Sergeant Speltz say monitoring your child's social media activity and keeping an open dialogue is a good way to start.