Oswego SD308 officials issued a statement on Monday to families and staff in the district after several arrests have been made and threats have been found at various district schools.
District officials said in collaboration with Oswego Police, that the district is facing a significant issue with students using texts and social media to forward and share messages of threats.
Several sets of writing have been found on bathroom walls and a student was arrested for allegedly bringing a knife to school. Incidents have occurred at Oswego High School, Plank Jr. High, Thompson Jr. High and Traughber Jr. High.
In the statement, SD308 Supt. Dr. John Sparlin says, "it is important for parents and students to understand that there are serious consequences for both, making threats and/or spreading threatening messages."
He says, "regardless of a student’s intent, even if a threat wasn’t meant to be serious, it will be treated as such" and he says that, "students will receive school discipline and may be charged with a crime for forwarding a photo or message of a threatening nature that disrupts the school environment."
Supt. Sparlin additionally says in the statement, "sharing threatening messages through Snapchat, text messages or any other means is illegal."
Age-appropriate messages are being told to students in different grade levels throughout the district this week.
Message from Supt. Dr. John Sparlin on Monday:
Dear District 308 Families,
We want to relay an important message to you regarding the distribution of threatening messages. This information is being shared on behalf of our district in collaboration with the Oswego Police Department. Over the past couple of weeks, OHS, Plank, Thompson and Traughber have been dealing with threatening messages. While the police work closely with school administrators to determine the source of the threat and charge individuals for their actions, we are facing a significant issue with students using texts and social media to forward and share these messages.
It is important for parents and students to understand that there are serious consequences for both, making threats and/or spreading threatening messages. Regardless of a student’s intent, even if a threat wasn’t meant to be serious, it will be treated as such. Students will receive school discipline and may be charged with a crime for forwarding a photo or message of a threatening nature that disrupts the school environment.
It is the responsibility of all students, staff, parents and community members to report anything that they hear or see that threatens or could cause harm to others. Students are asked to report concerns to a parent, teacher, administrator or directly to the police. Our students must understand that sharing threatening messages through Snapchat, text messages or any other means is illegal. When anyone hits forward on a threat message, even though he/she did not write it, the individual is responsible for his/her actions.
These actions contribute to the spread of fear, cost significant time and resources to the school district and community, the police, and students who often miss important educational time. Giving students the attention they seek by stirring fear in our schools cannot be tolerated.
Please urge your child to always report any threatening messages, conversations, or concerns to a trusted adult. Remind them to think twice before forwarding anything. Police and school administrators are closely monitoring illegal and/or threatening activity.
Administrators are sharing age-appropriate versions of this message with students throughout the district this week. Students who experience an increased level of concern can seek assistance from our counselors at school. We encourage you to contact your school’s administrative team with any questions or concerns.
Dr. John W. Sparlin