Parents more concerned about safety after social media threat


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– It’s not something you hear everyday, parents telling their kids to stay home from school. “It’s for their safety because we don’t know what’s going on,” said Terra Larsen.

Police say they are investigating a social media threat believed to be targeted to Centennial High School.

“They have witnessed since the beginning of this year, multiple very violent fights, so they know tensions are high with students. My kids are concerned, and I’m concerned as a parent that these threats could very well be true,” said Karen Sharp.

Officials say they were putting more resources into safety even before the threat was made. Two weeks ago, police say a Centennial student pulled out a gun during a fight. Last week, shots were fired in a field outside.

Police tell us they are working around the clock to move the investigation along and that all students, staff, faculty, parents, and loved ones deserve a safe learning environment.

“There are some fabulous teachers in that building that need to be kept safe just as much as my kids, her kids, or anyone else’s kids, and we just want to make sure the best safety plan is being implemented,” said Sharp.

That’s why these parents plan to rally outside of the district’s administration building next week. They want more transparency. Some key areas of improvements include family support, more involvement opportunities like mentoring, reporting student success, trust and communication building, and addressing safety concerns.

“It’s mostly communication. Parkland and U of I have a great text system where you find out right away when something is going on. I feel like we could do the same for Unit 4,” said Larsen.

“We recognize that they’re putting forth effort. They are trying different things, but we need more to feel comfortable sending our kids to school,” said Sharp.

There were metal detectors at Centennial High School Wednesday. The district said they’re not permanently installed and are a proactive layer of security. The district isn’t saying where the detectors would be used next to maximize the effectiveness of their random use.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.