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Hoopeston School Threat

HOOPESTON-- Local schools continue to take a proactive approach when it comes to student safety. Hoopeston Area High School officials and Hoopeston police were on alert Thursday morning after a possible safety threat was exposed on social media Wednesday.

Local mental health officials are pleased at the way the situation was handled. Marcie Sheridan, director of the Hoopeston community center, says, "I think that's probably something that we need to be looking at in light of the events that happened. That that's something that we would want to be proactive about. I just think the police really did a good job handling the situation and easing people's fears."

The superintendent declined to be interviewed for this story, but the high school did give a press release. It said in part that the threat was found to be a rumor via social media, the student in question was cooperative, and that a search found nothing to confirm the rumors. Following the violence last month at Sandyhook Elementary school, schools across east central Illinois have reassessed their safety procedures.

Dee Ann Ryan, director of the Vermilion County Mental Health Board, says, "I think they're taking it a lot more seriously. We have an excellent crisis response for children through the state of Illinois called SASS, and they respond very quickly and do an assessment for children."

Both officials say that the stigma that is often placed on mental health awareness sometimes contributes to the problems of violence and bullying. Says, Sheridan, "We work with all ages. We do have a teen outreach program that goes on every day after school that's a really good program if parents want that extra help for their kids. We have tutors there to help with them and a director and assistant director."

Adam Rife reporting