Spent Shell Casing Causes Soft Lockdown at KHS


Photo by Bridget McCracken

A spent shell casing was found in the hallway leading to the cafeteria causing a soft lockdown to be put in place.

Kaneland High School went into a hold-in-place procedure at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday after a spent 9mm shell casing was found outside of the cafeteria. Teachers were instructed to continue classroom activities with locked doors and not allow student movement in or out of the rooms, per hold-in-place policy.

The shell casing was reported by a staff member and authorities were contacted immediately after. Students present in the cafeteria were moved to the auditorium and had to leave their backpacks and other belongings behind so they could be searched.

“When we found it, we went right to Officer Conley who called dispatch and we went into an immediate lockdown,” Dean Joshua West said.

When Kane County Sheriff’s Department officials arrived, K-9 units capable of detecting bullets and explosives searched the cafeteria and surrounding area as well as walking the rest of the building, according to Lt. Patrick Gengler.

At 1:40 p.m. the campus was deemed safe by officials and Principal Jill Maras made the announcement that the hold-in-place was lifted. The schedule was adjusted so that students with 6B lunch were able to eat and periods 7 and 8 were shortened to 15 minutes each.

Nothing else of interest was found in the building and no known threats have been received.

About six officials remained on campus in the parking lot until after dismissal when most students had left, however after-school activities were not called off.

An email was sent out to all Kaneland students, staff, parents and families in the community explaining the incident and emphasizing the importance of safety on campus at 2:14 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Department will be working with KHS security officials to try to figure out the origin of the shell casing, including a review of the security cameras.

Addressing concerns that not every bag and person had been searched, Gengler referenced that a complete search would be extremely time consuming and students would most likely have to be held after the regular dismissal time.

There will be an increased presence on campus on Thursday, but the Kane County Sheriff’s Department would also like to remind students to remain vigilant, especially keeping an eye out for potential threats posted on social media.

“One thing we really want to stress to people is that if they see something suspicious or something doesn’t seem right, to make sure they tell somebody about it,” Gengler said.