OUTSIDE CHICAGO -- The student who had reportedly been restrained by an intruder in a bathroom at a local junior high school on Friday has admitted to fabricating the story, police said Monday.
"The internal report received by the police department from the school indicated a student was restrained in the restroom by an intruder," Addison Police Director Bill Hayden said during a press conference. "During the course of the investigation, the student admitted to fabricating the story. An in-depth investigation revealed that at no time was the security at Indian Trail Junior High School breached."
The information police initially received led to an "overwhelming" response by the Addison police department (located across the street from the school), DuPage County and other mutual aid departments, and the school was placed on lock-down for several hours. The area was "flooded with resources" to make sure the students and staff were safe, he said.
He said he didn't know the cost of the operation, but that "a lot of people were involved."
"Steps were taken immediately to ensure the safety of the students and staff, which included a lock-down procedure," he said. "Notification to parents was made via an all-call message within an hour and a half. … As soon as the police were able to confirm there was no intruder, an all-clear message was given and the lock-down released."
He said police knew with certainty that the story was fabricated by Friday evening.
When pressed as to whether the student was ever actually restrained, Hayden said, "I don't want to go into the specifics because it deals with a student, but the circumstances led us to believe that there could have been an intruder in the school. And that's why you got the response."
The message for students will be to always tell the truth, he said.
"By fabricating stories, it could create a response that overwhelms people, overwhelms the community, overwhelms parents," Hayden said. "We had a lot of scared people out there worrying about their kids."
Addison District 4 Superintendent John Langton said when students return to school on Tuesday, staff will discuss with them what happened, and the importance of telling the truth and not spreading rumors.
"Most important out of all of this is to make sure nobody, adults or children, contribute to rumors or speculation that are often spread during these types of incidents," Langton said. "That could be by word of mouth, email, texting, social media. Any of that type of activity leads to an interruption of an investigation."
School and police handling of the situation was "executed with precision," Hayden said.
"We acted swiftly and appropriately considering the information we had at the time," he said. "This whole situation validated all our training, protocol, procedures, everything we have done together in cooperation in the past with the school district. So, it was a positive outcome to an unfortunate circumstance."
Langton said students undergo training drills for emergency situations every school year and that they behaved in a mature fashion on Friday.
"This whole unfortunate incident really did give us the opportunity to demonstrate all the training students and staff go through to make sure we can maintain a safe environment for our students," he said. "The only better outcome would have been it not happening at all."
Both the school and police will "de-brief" over the next couple of weeks to find any areas that could have been handled better.
"The initial critique was that it was handled well," Hayden said. "We had an overwhelming situation that required a lot of resources in a short period of time, and we cleared up that whole situation within about three to four hours. We're going to look a lot closer at that over the next couple of weeks. I think there's always room for improvement."
Officials refused to say if the student offered any reason or rationale for the fabrication, or whether disciplinary action would be taken. But Hayden did say the family was "extremely cooperative."
"They were a big part of this, helping to resolve it, getting to the truth," he said. "They do deserve credit. They helped us and they're very sorry for what happened."