A gun threat fueled a decision by Barrington Unit District 220 officials to cancel a high school dance scheduled for Saturday evening. The school also canceled the varsity girls basketball game with Hoffman Estates High School, citing in part heightened security concerns after the Connecticut school shooting Friday.
Superintendent Tom Leonard said school officials learned Saturday morning that some students had overhead other students talking about possibly bringing a gun to the dance. School officials immediately began tracking down the details and asking police for help with the investigation. Those efforts are ongoing.
"We did get some confirmation as to some kids did hear something," Leonard said. "We're not sure of the credibility of the information completely."
The school dance was sponsored by a school club as a fundraiser. The theme was to be a spoof of some interpretations of the Mayan calendar signaling the end of the world later this month.
"That theme is no longer humorous," said Leonard in an email that went out to parents and school staff Saturday afternoon.
This is the second time in recent years a Barrington High School dance has been disrupted by the threat of violence. The prom was nearly canceled in 2008 by a similar threat. But in that instance, school officials had two weeks to investigate and the prom went ahead.
Leonard said there hasn't been enough time to investigate this new allegation. And given the school shooting in Connecticut, officials decided it was better to be safe than sorry, he said.
The initial results of the investigation indicate the gun talk preceded the Connecticut shooting.
Leonard said classes will resume as scheduled on Monday, but that there will be a heightened state of security at the school as police and officials conduct the investigation.
"We will keep working with the police throughout the weekend," Leonard said. "If we need to communicate more information to our community we will."