Wheaton, IL

Wheaton Illinois Residents Told to Shelter in Place Due to Threatening Phone Call Related to High School

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Police instructed residents to shelter in place for over an hour on Monday as they investigated a threat regarding Wheaton North High School called into 911

Photo byArvell Dorsey Jr./flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Residents of Wheaton, Illinois were recently told to "shelter in place" and remain inside for nearly an hour, as police evacuated students and staff from Wheaton North High School. Police received a threatening call about the school this morning, urging residents within two blocks of the school to take precautionary measures. While the shelter in place order was lifted shortly before 11:00am, road closures remained in effect for several hours as police continued to investigate.

Although the school was not in session due to the President's Day holiday, students and staff who were there for various meetings and practices were quickly evacuated from the building and taken to a safe location. No armed individual or other threat was found by police when they searched the builidng.

Police determined the threat was likely a false "swatting" incident upon learning that other areas had also recieved the same kind of threat around the same time as Wheaton. Swatting involves triggering an emergency response by issuing a false threat against a target in order to draw a large number of emergency response personnel to the same location. This is accomplished by phoning emergency help-lines like 911, and reporting a fake violent emergency event, like a bomb threat, hostage situation, or shooting.

A spokesperson for the Wheaton Police Department said that there will be a larger police presence outside of all Wheaton area schools on Tuesday when classes are back in session.

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