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Police investigating after false-alarm call about gunman at Oak Lawn school

Updated: March 3, 2014 5:05PM



Two middle schools in Oak Lawn were briefly on lockdown Thursday after someone called police and said there was a gunman at a school, according to authorities.

Police responded about 1:30 p.m. to Simmons Middle School and Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Michael Kaufmann said.

“The caller said, ‘I want to report a gunman at the Oak Lawn middle school,’ ” Kaufmann said.

No gunman was found and no one was injured.

“We handle calls like this with an abundance of caution,” Kaufmann said. “We searched the buildings and we came up with nothing.”

He said students were dismissed as scheduled. The call was made on a cellphone and police are investigating, Kaufmann said.

Ridgeland School District 122 Supt. Julie Shellberg, whose district includes Simmons Middle School at 6450 W. 95th St., said such threats are never taken lightly.

“We take every call seriously. We practice and prepare for a situation like this,” she said.

When a school is on lockdown, classroom doors are locked with students inside until the “all-clear” signal is given, she said.

Principal Nicole Leggett said there were no problems at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St.

“Nobody got injured. Everyone is safe,” she said.

Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Supt. Paul Enderle said that “out of precaution when we get a call like that, we went to a preventive lockdown. Coincidentally, we had four police officers in the building running the EDGE program, which is an extension of Project DARE.

“The police thoroughly checked the building and determined it to be safe. They told us the threat had no merit. And the police stayed in our building until dismissal. No one was hurt. No one was in danger.”

Voicemail and email messages were sent to parents explaining the situation, Enderle said.



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