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Important Safety Message

Reported by on 12/19/19

To the Aurora and Naperville Communities:

As leaders in the cities of Aurora and Naperville, we take our responsibility for the safety of our communities very seriously. As part of this obligation, we feel the need to start an open dialogue with parents and students about threats of violence against our schools.

The topic of school threats has been widely reported in our area lately, and our agencies continue to investigate threats at all levels – from elementary through high school. This is an unfortunate, yet very real, concern for us all. What was once viewed as a prank to get a day off from school has now created an ongoing sense of fear within our communities, caused us to divert substantial resources in investigating these threats, and eroded parents' and students' confidence in their schools being safe environments.

This must stop.

We are writing this letter because we need your support. As we head into winter break and look forward to the start of a new calendar year, we ask that you take a moment to discuss the topic of school threats with your child in an age-appropriate way and pledge as a family to both report threats to the proper authorities and refrain from sharing rumored threats and unverified information with others.

Start an Open Dialogue

We encourage parents to have open and honest conversations with their children about the seriousness of making threats against an individual or a school community. Children need to understand that there is no such thing as "joking" about bringing a weapon to school, initiating violence against another, or causing general chaos.

As the agencies responsible for the safety of our schools, Aurora and Naperville police departments will continue to thoroughly investigate any threats, the DuPage and Will county state's attorneys' offices will aggressively pursue legal action against perpetrators, and School Districts 203 and 204 will invoke severe discipline, up to and including expulsion.

Report Threats of Violence

Every member of a school community is responsible for its safety. We encourage everyone to "See Something, Say Something, Do Something" and ask anyone with information about a threat of violence to bring it to the attention of school administrators and law enforcement.

You may be wondering what constitutes a threat. A threat is any expression of intent to harm another. Threats can be spoken, written, communicated using technology, or expressed in other means, such as gestures or body language. Threats can be made directly to the intended victim, communicated to third parties or expressed in ways ranging from verbal threats on phones, writing on public property, in notes, on social media or over text messaging.

Fact Check Before Sharing Rumors

We understand how unsettling it is to think that the safety of your child or your school community is threatened. However, as seen in recent weeks, spreading rumored or unverified information has the potential to cause great confusion and anxiety.

We strongly encourage parents and students alike to refrain from posting or sharing rumors about threats of violence on social media. Instead, fact check before forwarding or responding to rumors on social media. This can be done by calling your school's office or your local police department's non-emergency number to ask if they are aware of a rumored threat of violence. We may be limited in what we can say while an investigation is ongoing, but we ask for your trust that our agencies are doing everything in our power to keep our students, staff, and school communities safe.

We are hopeful that by working together, we can reduce the frequency of threats against our schools, calm general anxiety about school safety, and refocus community dialogue on more positive topics, like the growth and education of our students.

Wishing you and yours a very safe and happy holiday season and New Year,

Robert Marshall, Naperville Chief of Police

Kristen Ziman, Aurora Chief of Police

Robert Berlin, DuPage County State's Attorney

James Glasgow, Will County State's Attorney

Dan Bridges, Superintendent, Naperville School District 203

Dr. Karen Sullivan, Superintendent, Indian Prairie School District 204

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