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Threat rumor leads to police presence at GSW

Deputies, school officials say no danger exists at school

GARDNER — There was never a threat against Gardner-South Wilmington High School, but rumors caused the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department to make deputies present at the school this week.

“No threat was ever made to the school,” Sheriff Kevin Callahan said.

The situation started last month when the sheriff’s department received a complaint about a student at the school receiving a threatening text message from another student.

The sheriff’s department began investigating the 15-year-old male juvenile that made the text-threat. In their investigation, deputies discovered he had some “anti-government beliefs,” Callahan said.

The name of the student cannot be released because he is a minor. School administration was made aware of the discoveries.

Shortly after their follow-up investigation began, “unsubstantiated rumors” began circulating around the school that something may occur Jan. 10 by the actions of this student, Callahan said.

The sheriff’s detectives investigated the rumors and found no threat to the school by this student or any other. No charges have been filed.

Detectives interviewed students, made visits to the school and found nothing, Superintendent Michael Perrott said.

Callahan said Grundy County Sheriff’s Deputies were present at the school Thursday and Friday as a precautionary measure.

School officials have spoken to about 70 parents so far regarding the rumors.

“It’s flabbergasted us because a rumor has just gotten life,” Perrott said. “It’s a rumor that unfortunately has taken up a lot of valuable time and resources.”

On a positive note, Perrott said the situation has made the school review and practice the safety procedures it has had in place, and built relationships between the school and the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department.

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