Lincoln Park H.S. student threatened to shoot a teacher, but CPS declined to press charges, police say
CPS officials said an investigation determined there was “no safety threat” and police said the student was allowed to remain at the school.
Police were called to Lincoln Park High School after a student allegedly threatened to shoot a teacher on Wednesday, but the teen wasn’t taken into custody after the school declined to press charges hours later.
The confrontation started when the teacher asked the 17-year-old student to leave the school’s auditorium around 9:40 a.m. because the teen wasn’t supposed to be there, according to a police report. While walking out, the student began using “strong profanity” and made the shooting threat, the report stated.
Chicago police weren’t called to the school until later, a police source said, and eventually arrived at 1:10 p.m. and took a statement from the teacher, the report shows. There were no cops at the building because Lincoln Park’s local school council voted in 2020 to permanently remove school resource officers after students and alumni organized and decried cops as being ineffective and perpetuating the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.
The police source said school officials chose not to pursue any criminal charges and allowed the student to remain at the school after making the threat. No weapons were displayed or recovered by police, the source added.
In a letter sent to the school community after the incident Wednesday, Principal Eric Steinmiller said an investigation “confirmed that there was no safety threat.”
“Earlier today, there was a report that a verbal threat was made by a member of our school community,” he wrote, although the specific threat was not detailed. “Upon learning of the threat, we immediately contacted the Chicago Public Schools Office of Safety and Security who in turn connected with the Chicago Police Department to initiate an investigation.
“Upon completion of the investigation, it was confirmed that there was no safety threat. All students and staff are safe,” added Steinmiller, who called student safety his “top priority.”
The teacher involved in the incident declined comment. Lincoln Park administrators, including Steinmiller, didn’t respond to questions from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Mary Ann Fergus, a CPS spokeswoman, said the district doesn’t comment “on individual student incidents or matters.” She added only that “principals work hard to keep their school communities updated on all incidents impacting students and they follow all CPS discipline policies and procedures.”
The incident comes just eight days after a shooting at a Texas elementary school left 19 students and two teachers dead, prompting calls for more stringent gun control and renewed concerns over school safety.
Gun violence has also recently hit home at or near CPS schools. On May 17, a 7-year-old was grazed by a bullet when a gun hidden inside the backpack of a fellow Disney Magnet School student went off inside a classroom. Hours later, students at Finkl Academy were sent running for cover when gunfire erupted nearby, wounding two people.