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CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police said Friday they are continuing to investigate a threat directed at Centennial High School through a social-media post Wednesday.

But they added that rumors of additional threats “are unsubstantiated.”

“The safety of our students and community is the city’s top priority,” said a Friday afternoon release from department spokesman Tom Yelich.

“We assure our community that all threats and menacing social-media posts that are made towards Champaign schools are thoroughly investigated and will not be tolerated, regardless of the intent or nature behind them,” the release said. “All students, staff, faculty and parents deserve positive and safe learning environments, and we strongly encourage anyone who has information that would benefit law enforcement or school safety to come forward and provide it.”

Some parents have been critical of the district’s administration for not being quicker to share details about potentially dangerous situations at both high schools with them.

Several are planning to rally in advance of the next school board meeting Monday night.

Later Friday in a letter to district families, Superintendent Shelia Boozer reiterated that the district acted promptly when it became aware of Wednesday’s social-media threat.

“Upon notification of the post, we immediately contacted the Champaign Police Department and they began an active investigation,” Boozer wrote. “Together, Unit 4 and CPD created a safety and security plan.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we agreed to take additional measures that included asking Centennial students and staff to exit immediately at the end of the school day yesterday in order to allow CPD and their dogs to conduct a thorough search of the building.

“We are aware of other rumors suggesting additional school threats have been made. At this time, those reports are unsubstantiated. We continue to work with CPD in taking precautionary measures at Centennial and the nearby areas.”

Yelich said the police are continuing to work with the district “to ensure a visible law enforcement presence” at Centennial, where in the last month, one student was charged with bringing a gun to school, a woman was arrested and charged with beating up a faculty member who tried to break up a fight between students outside the school, and shots were fired in a field north of the school.

Wrote Boozer: “I am concerned about violence in the broader community that is seeping into our schools. My administrative team and I, along with various members of our school teams and community partners, are actively working to address these off- and on-campus concerns.”

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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