Parents concerned after soft lockdown at Urbana Middle School

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s a message no one wants to get.

“He texted me and said can you come and get me. We’re on a soft lockdown,” Jeanette Walski, who picked up her grandson from school, said.

Many families in Urbana were met with similar texts from their students. A soft lockdown was in place at the middle school, after rumors someone had a gun and intended to use it.

“I didn’t know until I picked him up what the details were. Something was happening,” Ricardo Diaz, a father, said.

“It was a Snapchat message from what I received from a friend, basically saying that a girl was going to bring a gun to school and shoot people,” Benjamin Diaz said.

Diaz is an 8th grader and said his first class of the day was more than 2 hours longer than normal. His father headed to the school immediately after getting a text from his son.

“If the first class lasts that long, it’s for a reason, and I understand they have to do all the verifying and whatever else, but if he sees the message, it’s a threat that we have to take seriously. So, I came to pick him up,” Ricardo said.

The District issued the following statement:

Due to social media messages and rumors of a possible school shooting, Urbana Middle School was put on a soft lockdown Wednesday morning. Families were informed of the situation.

Out of an abundance of caution for all students, backpacks and lockers were searched by school staff. The students remained in their classrooms while the search was completed. No weapons were found and there was no direct threat to any person.

The lockdown was lifted at 11:35 a.m. and students resumed their day as normal.

As always, student and staff safety is our top priority. USD #116 will continue to work with Urbana Police to investigate this matter. We will have no further comment.

KATHERINE TELLEZ
URBANA SCHOOL DISTRICT #116

Diaz said even though classes were going back to normal, he was taking his son home.

“For me, it’s too late. If the threat was credible enough to do the searches, it’s credible enough for me to take my kid home and not take any chances,” he said.

Right now, the school is set to resume as normal the rest of the week.

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