Police handle threats at CCSI, Red Brick
Officials at Career Center of Southern Illinois and Red Brick Safe School near Hecker took precautions following separate possible threats made by students last week.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was made aware of the first situation early last Monday evening.
“We were informed that a threat was made by a student on one of our school buses this afternoon,” CCSI Director Stephanie Mohr told the Republic-Times late last Monday evening. “Several students overheard the threat and immediately reported it to (CCSI) administration. Campus security is a priority for us and we take all threats very seriously. We contacted the appropriate law enforcement and began our investigation. We will continue to work collaboratively with law enforcement to investigate the situation and ensure the safety of our campus. We appreciate our students who overheard the threat doing the right thing and reporting it to the administration.”
MCSD Capt. Justin Biggs confirmed that CCSI administration contacted the sheriff’s department after police started an investigation, and by mid-morning last Tuesday, a student was taken into custody.
Caleb Wittenborn, 18, of Baldwin, was subsequently charged with threat to a school building/person, which is a Class 4 felony, and bond was set at $25,000 by Judge Chris Hitzemann.
At about 1 p.m. last Wednesday, the MCSD was contacted by Red Brick Safe School administration regarding a separate possible threat made by a student.
Red Brick School is located on the same grounds as CCSI, 6137 Beck Road in rural Red Bud.
“At no time did we fear for the safety of the kids,” Regional Superintendent of Schools Kelton Davis said in reference to the second incident.
Davis added that the saturation of social media use that has become more prevalent in today’s culture sometimes gives youngsters an element of “electronic courage” to say statements in person that can be alarming and misinterpreted by others.
A 12-year-old juvenile was taken into custody at the school following the Red Brick incident. Due to the nature of this possible threat, the sheriff’s department requested assistance from the U.S. Marshals Services, where K-9’s were used for an additional security sweep.
No evidence indicating the threat to be creditable was found.
“The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department takes threats of school violence seriously and individuals found responsible for making such threats will be held accountable for their actions,” Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said.
Rohlfing commended the individuals who alerted school administration to these threats and the swift and prompt response by deputies and the administration of CCSI and Red Brick schools.
Rohlfing and area school officials are encouraging parents to talk to their children about the seriousness of school threats.
CCSI offers two-hour vocational programs for high school students in auto body, auto mechanics, child care, law enforcement, health occupations and welding in addition to an all-day program for at-risk high school students, per the school’s website.
Red Brick Safe School provides education and related services to students attending grades 6-10 in the local school’s of Monroe and Randolph counties who are identified as “at-risk” of dropping out or failing to graduate on time for a multitude of reasons.