Teen Charged After Swastika Sent to Students' Phones During OPRF Assembly

The incident marked the third anti-Semitic message at the school in less than two weeks, according to the school

A 14-year-old has been charged after a photo of a swastika was air-dropped to Oak Park and River Forest High School students' cell phones during a morning assembly last week, police said.

The teen was charged with dissemination of an obscene message and is scheduled to appear in juvenile court Wednesday. 

On Friday, officials said an anti-Semitic image was distributed to some students' phones during an assembly. 

"Administration and security are aware and are in full investigation mode," OPRF's Director of Communications Karin Sullivan said in an email alerting students' families of the incident. "Thanks to so many of you for your vigilance in reporting this immediately."

The teen was interviewed by police shortly after the incident, authorities said, noting that the airdropped image also prompted a report of a possible school shooting threat that turned out to be a "misunderstanding." 

According to police, the image led one student to tell a parent that students were talking about shooting up the school, prompting that parent to call police.

"Students, parents and high school staff are understandably on edge given these incidents,” Interim Police Chief LaDon Reynolds said in a statement. “I want to assure them and the entire community that the Oak Park Police and our network of law enforcement agencies across the region are focused on bringing such troubling incidents to an end.”

Police presence has "increased significantly" at the suburban school as the photo marked the third racist and anti-Semitic incident in less than two weeks.

Earlier in the week, graffiti was discovered in a girls' bathroom that called for the deaths of “blacks (and) Muslims,” alongside a swastika and the phrase "gas the Jews."

"I went through the entirety of Monday absolutely fearful for my life," student Jordan Murray said.

The week before, another graffiti message was scrawled on a shed at the school, with the phrase "white power" and two swastikas - this one directed at special education teacher Anthony Clark.

“Whoever wrote that, they want you to be afraid,” he said of the message.

In the wake of the first two graffiti incidents, school officials held a packed town hall meeting Wednesday evening in hopes of bringing the community together to "eradicate intolerance and hate," district Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said in an email.

Clark, along with other faith and community leaders, were front and center at Wednesday's meeting as the school, students and parents looked to put a stop to the hateful incidents.

Pruitt-Adams said in her email after the second message was found that the school immediately reported both incidents to the police, as well as launched its own investigation, reviewing hours of security footage in an attempt to identify the perpetrators.

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