NEW: Visible police presence expected Wednesday at Westville school

NEW: Visible police presence expected Wednesday at Westville school

WESTVILLE — A more visible police presence is expected at Westville schools today, a day after an unspecified threat prompted officials to lock down Judith Giacoma Elementary and bring a person into custody for questioning.

"Please do not be alarmed over the next couple of days as we do expect there will be a more visible presence of law enforcement," Superintendent Seth Miller said in a message posted on the district's website around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Shortly before noon, Miller said, an individual came to Judith Giacoma Elementary, and while there, made an "inappropriate comment" in conversations with administrators.

The individual — whom officials declined to identify — then left the school without incident, Miller told News-Gazette Media in an interview Tuesday at the school.

But, Miller said, out of an abundance of caution, administrators made law enforcement aware of the situation, and police responded quickly to ensure the school was secure and followed up by talking to the individual.

"Law enforcement did a fantastic job," Miller said.

School officials did initiate shelter-in-place procedures, as they've been trained to do, Miller said. But for the most part, the school day continued as normal, although some parents showed up to take their children home early after receiving the alert from the district.

One of those parents, Jodi Kleiner, said she received an automated phone message from the district at 12:20 p.m. stating that there had been a threat, but that the person was in custody and students were safe.

"I felt hollow," Kleiner said of the initial message. "That's my child."

Kleiner said she "wholeheartedly trusts the school staff" with her son, a fourth-grader, but she still wanted to take him home early Tuesday.

"I trust no one more with my child than myself," she said, adding that the quick response by school staff "makes me feel very good."

In the statement from the district, officials said there was no disruption to the educational day, but there was a visible police presence afterward.

"Law-enforcement officials have assured administration the schools are and remain safe, and while their investigation continues, that they have apprehended the suspect, who is innocent of any crime unless and until proven otherwise," the statement read.

Westville police Chief Dave Booe did not return calls from News-Gazette Media on Tuesday.

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