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New Trier student charged with tweeted bomb threat

Updated: November 19, 2013 2:11PM

WINNETKA — Officials with the Winnetka Police Department are warning students and adults of the dangers of social media after a student allegedly used Twitter to make a threat against New Trier High School.

According to the Winnetka Police a 16-year-old student was arrested at 11:48 a.m. March 5 at the high school and charged with disorderly conduct. He allegedly composed a suspicious Twitter message stating he was going to “bring a bomb to school and blow it up,” police said.

A subsequent investigation revealed no bomb existed and the case was referred to a peer jury.

“Words matter whether it’s said or on social media,” said Winnetka deputy police chief Joe Pellus. “They have to recognize on social media a lot of the content is public and not private.”

Pellus would not reveal how the department became aware of the message, but urged anyone in the community who knows of threats like this to report them immediately to authorities.

“We encourage anybody who sees a social media message or any other message that alarms and disturbs like this one to contact their local agency,” Pellus said. “When it comes to alarming the public in such a degree we’re going to hold people accountable for that. It’s something we take very seriously.”

Pellus said the department looked into the matter and resolved it the same day they became aware of the message.

“There was no actual bomb but had there been the police department was actively involved and would have mitigated it right away,” Pellus said. “Any suspicious Tweets or Facebook posts the police department receives that would indicate something along the lines of a critical incident that could occur at a school is something we’re going to investigate thoroughly.

Pellus said officials felt the best interest of this case was to send it to a peer jury and had it been an adult the individual could have been charged with a class three disorderly conduct felony.

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