A letter emailed to parents by Barrington Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard:
The student dance scheduled Saturday evening at Barrington High School has been canceled. Regrettably, conversations and activities among students earlier today alluded to someone possibly bringing a gun to this evening’s dance.
These occurrences created enough concern and awareness to require calling off tonight’s event in the interest of student safety. This decision is even more appropriate following Friday’s tragic school shooting in Connecticut. Furthermore, the long-planned dance was originally promoted to spoof the Mayan calendar “end-of-the-world” legend. That theme is no longer humorous.
Upon learning of the rumors through parents and students Saturday morning, school officials immediately began working with local law enforcement to trace the origin of the alleged threat.
As of this afternoon, the credibility of the information we received hasn’t yet been verified. However, in light of Friday’s somber circumstances, we will not take any chances. We won’t risk student safety or the possibility a copycat assailant could try to inflict violence at one of our own schools.
Some will say we are overreacting, but we have no reservations about being exceedingly cautious given the current atmosphere and our ongoing focus on protecting students.
Parents may recall a similar instance in May 2008 when a threat of violence almost disrupted the Barrington High School prom. In that situation, we had several days to thoroughly investigate, to implement a security plan and to communicate with students and parents. Fortunately, the prom that year was held safely without any incidents.
Tonight’s student event is different, as we are limited in our time to react today and by the grim reality of a national news story. Again, we will not be careless with the welfare of students. Every threat, no matter how flippant, is regarded seriously – including severe consequences for those involved. This no joking matter.
All parents, students and staff will hopefully appreciate the heightened sense of security they will find in Barrington 220 schools during the coming days. Every procedure and protocol will be reexamined and reinforced to ensure our schools are as safe as possible for everyone. Unfortunately, tonight’s high school dance is a casualty of these measures, but we won’t hesitate when it comes to safeguarding students.
Thank you for understanding.