Local law enforcement and education leaders react to recent increase in school threats

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Local education and law enforcement leaders are reacting to a recent increase in school threats. Over the past week, threats have been investigated in at least three Central Illinois districts.

In Peoria County, Bartonville Grade School and Limestone Community High School were the subjects of threats, leading to two arrests.

“I’m sad to say that it’s not shocking. We are experiencing an uptick of that, and it usually happens after there is a dramatic incident like we saw in Michigan,” said Beth Crider, Peoria County Regional Office of Education superintendent.

Two threats were also recently made to Ingersoll Middle School in Canton.

Canton Police Chief Michael Eveland said these incidents impact the community as a whole.

“Everybody wants to obviously feel safe going to school, so it just creates a lot of stress. Mainly, I believe for the school district and parents,” Eveland said.

Crider said following the Sandy Hook shooting in 2013, an extra emphasis has been placed on school safety in Peoria County.

To protect against potential dangers, each district and school is mandated to have a behavioral assessment team.

“That team gets together and looks at the threat and says is it credible, who do we need to talk to, what partners do we need,” Crider said.

What happens at a student’s home can also play a role, Crider encourages families to speak with children about school safety.

“What things are home activities and what things are school activities,” Crider said.

Both Eveland and Crider said the most important message is to say something if you see something.

“Any little bit of information can help solve the case and put everybody back on the track to feeling nice and safe going to school,” Eveland said.

An anonymous SAFE2HELP tipline has been created for Illinois. The community is encouraged to use the resource to report concerns about school safety.

You can reach the tipline by calling 844-4-SAFEIL or by texting 72332.

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