Unfounded gun rumor spins out of control in Clarendon Hills
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:53PM
CLARENDON HILLS — An incident about two weeks ago at Clarendon Hills Middle School had the rumor mill spinning out of control over the past few days.
School officials have determined, and Clarendon Hills police are satisfied, the rumor was not accurate and presents no threat to the safety of anyone at the school. The rumor was a CHMS student said he was planning to bring a gun to school Dec. 21 along with a “kill list” of students and staff he planned to shoot.
Apparently, the rumor began after two girls began telling fellow students they heard a boy make threats. School officials did investigate a report about a concerning statement being overheard, which included no reference to Dec. 21.
Police Chief Ted Jenkins said concern in the community exploded following considerable exaggeration of the rumor and Friday’s shootings at a Connecticut elementary school.
“This rumor had nothing to do with Connecticut, and the rumors here were never true in the first place,” Jenkins said. “Kids are repeating a story that’s not true, but in their world it is true.”
Jenkins said Clarendon Hills police received about a dozen telephone calls Dec. over the weekend from concerned parents and others who had heard rumors about a “kill list.” At least two of those calls were from parents who had been told by their children that they were on the “kill list.”
“I had a call about 6:30 (Monday) morning from someone who was very upset and wanted to know why we gave the guns back to the grandparents,” Jenkins said. “I explained that there were no guns, so nothing was given back. I was then asked why I thought this person’s grandchildren would lie to him. They didn’t lie; they were repeating something they believe to be true.”
Jenkins said police visited CHMS Monday to speak with all students.
“We talked about rumors and how if they do hear something they should go to an adult they can trust and not to start spreading something around that might not be true,” he said.
Both CHMS Principal Griffin Sonntag and Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 Superintendent Renee Schuster sent emails to parents, assuring an investigation into the rumor of a student planning to bring a gun to school and having a “kill list” was completed and that were was no threat.
“The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority,” Sonntag said. “We will continue to fully investigate each concern brought forth by students and parents.”~.