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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Report of threats against PCSD 25 schools

Several reports of threats to schools have been received over the past few days, most specifically related to Hawthorne Middle School and Highland High School. Threats against schools or individuals understandably incite rumors and fear throughout our school communities. Maintaining the safety and well-being of our learners and staff is our highest priority. Upon report of a threat, school and district administration immediately investigates the threat in coordination with school resource officers and other law enforcement partners, as needed, to determine the seriousness and credibility of the threat. Please know, too, that we take all threats seriously and work in tandem with law enforcement to do our due diligence to determine the credibility of a threat. The district, along with police, make immediate contact with the student's parents to assess and investigate the threat. The district then follows the direction and lead of our in-house School Resource Officers or other law enforcement partners. In most cases, threats are determined to be non-credible.

In light of an increased climate of violence across our nation, the district has increased our efforts to improve safety. For example, we are taking measures to improve camera surveillance quality and storage, exploring grants and funding to increase the number of School Resource Officers, and also are in the process of enhancing our security notification and evacuation processes. 

Please note: While the district is unable to share specific information about the nature of any threat, these incidents provide a good opportunity for parents to have ongoing conversations with their children that any threat made and reported is investigated. Disciplinary actions may be taken depending on the outcome of the investigation and we are legally prevented from disclosing specific details about consequences. We also encourage parents to have conversations with their children if they “see something, say something,” and contact the school or district administration with any concerns.


In an emergency situation, our administrators’ first priority is to ensure the safety and security of our learners and staff. They follow the policies and procedures the district has put in place to address emergencies. In these situations, we understand it is natural for parents to want to call or visit the school, but those calls and visits can actually hinder school staff and emergency personnel as they try to deal with emergency situations. Instead, here are some tips to help parents during an emergency:

  • Be wary of initial reports. Information moves quickly today and often initial reports are inaccurate or just plain wrong. Watch for updates from official sources.
  • Watch for updates from official district sources. The district will share information as quickly as possible using a variety of tools, including texts, emails, the district’s website, the district’s automated calling system, social media outlets and local media such as newspaper, TV and radio.
  • Be patient. The first few minutes of an emergency situation can be chaotic. It can take a little time to collect reliable information. As soon as that information is available, the district will share it with parents.
  • Keep communications with your child short. It is natural for parents to want to get in touch with their child(ren) during an emergency. However, trying to call a child’s cell phone may prevent them from hearing important, life-saving information. Texting may be a better option, but keep the exchanges short. Before an emergency, talk to your child(ren) about what kind of information is helpful to share in these situations. For example, “I am safe” or “We’re being evacuated.”

We appreciate that so many local families entrust their loved ones to our care throughout the school year and we are grateful for your willingness to work TOGETHER to understand and follow these practices. We all share a common priority to keep our learners and staff as safe as possible all day, every day.

  • Parent Notifications
  • School Safety