Graffiti, apparently written on a restroom wall Thursday, referencing a shooting to come Friday at Pekin Community High School prompted police to assign extra patrols on the school’s campus, though the threat was not considered credible.
Classes were held as scheduled at the school Friday and no incidents were reported.
The incident was taken “with the utmost seriousness” by the school, according to a statement it issued after classes ended Thursday. However, the note was expected to produce no more than discipline issued “swiftly and sternly” to the student considered responsible, the statement read.
“It wasn’t really a threat,” but was rather “a reference to a shooting” to take place, police Public Information Officer Billie Ingles said Friday.
Officers were assigned to produce a calming presence on the school grounds by patrolling in their squad cars as students arrived and left for the day, Ingles said. Only one parked squad car, apparently that for the officer permanently assigned to the school, was present at mid-day Friday.
It was the second time this month that police have added extra officers to the school campus in the wake of a perceived threat. On Nov. 2, concerns arose from “a student listening to a song referencing shootings at school,” the school stated
Classes were not cancelled then, either.
Concern over the restroom graffiti rose in the school after a second student reportedly posted a photo of the message on social media before informing school officials.
“If anyone ever sees or hears any information which can be interpreted as a threat against the school, its students or staff, they should come forward with the information immediately,” according to the school’s statement.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page Thursday, Ingles said the Police Department takes any threats or references of gun violence at the school seriously. The graffiti matter “has been investigated thoroughly and (we) do not feel that there any credible threats at this time.
“As a precaution, and again to ease any anxiety, at the request of the high school, we will have extra officers present” on Friday, Ingles said.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin