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Skokie middle school closed again Thursday after Instagram threats

(SKOKIE) Classes are canceled at a north suburban middle school for the second straight day Thursday because of a series of Instagram posts that were shared with sixth grade students.

Oliver McCracken Middle School at 8000 E. Prairie Rd. is closed again Thursday after officers were made aware Monday of “inappropriate and threatening” social media posts received by students, according to a statement from the Village of Skokie.

“While we are not aware of any new posts that are threatening or inappropriate in nature, the current status of the investigation is such that we are canceling classes at McCracken Middle School for tomorrow,” according to a statement posted on Skokie School District 73.5’s website.

Administrators are working with police to prepare increased security measures at the school so students can return as soon as possible, according to the statement.

The district is cooperating with the Skokie Police Department in investigating the occurrences, according to a letter sent to parents Oct. 21 by Dean of Students Nancy Arrola.

The posts came to light because students, parents and staff followed the school district’s media policies, according to the school district’s statement.

“Some of our McCracken students are following anonymous users and/or allowing anonymous users to access their Instagram accounts,” Arrola wrote. “These anonymous users are able to view students’ comments and photos, and post comments on their own.”

Arrola did not specify how many students were impacted by the Instagram posts or share details of the posts.

“Student safety is our first priority, and we encourage you to monitor your child’s Internet activity (including all digital devices) very closely,” Arrola wrote.

“The Skokie Police Department assures the community that this incident is isolated to McCracken Middle School and does not compromise the safety or scheduling at any other Skokie public or private school,” according to the statement.

District 73.5 Superintendent Kate Donegan said the district could not provide more information because the matter is an on-going investigation. She said she hopes the source of the posts will be caught.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the threats is asked to call police at (847) 982-5900 or the Crime Tip Hot Line at (847) 933-8477.