Huntley police investigate racist comments made toward Lake in the Hills middle school student

Same student received threats in previous incident in which charges were filed, police say

Shaw Media file photo
Shaw Media file photo

HUNTLEY – Huntley police are investigating racially motivated threats made via Xbox Live toward the same Lake in the Hills middle school student who was targeted in October.

While the victim is the same as in the previous incident, it is not yet clear who the offender is in the second incident, Huntley Police Deputy Chief Mike Klunk said.

A former Marlowe Middle School student was charged with a hate crime in connection with the threats made in October, Lake in the Hills Police Deputy Chief Pat Boulden said.

Huntley School District 158 officials alerted Huntley police of the new threats immediately, said Dan Armstrong, director of communications and public engagement for the district.

On Monday, Huntley police began investigating "disparaging racial and threatening comments that were sent to a juvenile via Xbox Live," according to a news release from the Huntley Police Department.

Xbox Live is an online multiplayer gaming service that allows players to communicate with each other using microphones or messaging.

Police had conducted several interviews and executed a search warrant in connection with the investigation as of Wednesday morning.

The Huntley Police Department is working the investigation in cooperation with the school district and the Lake in the Hills Police Department, because of the possible involvement of current or former students within the schools in the area, according to the release.

"The Huntley Police Department takes matters such as this extremely serious and will take appropriate actions to maintain the safety and well-being of our community," the release said.

No charges had been filed in the new case as of Wednesday morning.

In an alert sent to parents Wednesday afternoon, Marlowe Middle School Principal Henry Soltesz confirmed the investigation was ongoing and said there was no threat to the school as a whole.

"The messages were not sent at school, did not use a school device, were isolated to one recipient and did not indicate a threat to the larger school community," Soltesz said.

The school district said it has measures in place to address hate, violence and bullying, including a hotline for anonymous reports, a student leadership team and a diversity and inclusion work group.

"We thank you for your continued partnership in educating your students about the serious nature of these types of messages, for your vigilance in keeping our school a safe place for students, and for your continued trust in us to care for your students," Soltesz said.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney John Gibbons also confirmed there was an ongoing investigation into the new case.

Marlowe Middle School and other nearby schools were placed on a soft lockdown after the previous threats Oct. 19.

“Please continue to be our partners in educating your students about the seriousness of this kind of behavior and the serious consequences that any student who creates or shares messages of this kind will face,” Superintendent John Burkey said at the time. “If you or your student becomes aware of a threatening message, please report it to the school or police.”

The student accused of posting a threatening video to social media was charged with a hate crime and disorderly conduct.

Armstrong said that student is no longer enrolled in the Lake in the Hills middle school.

Soltesz previously said in a statement that district officials won’t discuss details of the disciplinary process, but he said that it “is designed to apply the strongest appropriate consequences for the student responsible and to ensure the safety of the school environment going forward.”

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