Dixon’s Reagan and Madison schools go on lockout

Student who received threat via social media shared it with school leaders, who contacted police

A file photo of Reagan Middle School taken on Aug. 4. Reagan and Madison schools, which share the same campus in Dixon, went on a lockout after a student received a threat via social media.

DIXON — Reagan Middle and Madison Elementary schools went into a lockout Thursday afternoon, Dixon Police and Dixon Public Schools said in joint releases on social media.

The lockout was lifted before the end of the school day and extracurricular activities — including a volleyball match at Reagan — were given the green light.

Dixon PD provided updates on its Facebook page during the day.

Schools Superintendent Margo Empen said in a phone interview later that these messages were drafted in concert with Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell.

Dixon PD said a final press release on the circumstances would be released at a later time once its investigation was concluded.

The lockout — in which the school closes entrances — was initiated after a student at Reagan received a threatening message on social media, then promptly informed an administrator, Empen said.

Law enforcement was immediately notified. The school district notified the parents of Madison and Reagan students by text alerts. Other notifications were placed on the various school websites.

Some people posted on Facebook that they were not notified of the lockout. Empen said the district also received phone calls from inquiring parents during the lockout. She said it was often a case of the school not having a record of updated phone numbers. She encouraged district parents to go to the parent portal to ensure their contact information is up-to-date.

The lockout was lifted when it was determined that the individual who sent the threatening message was not in the Dixon area and there was no immediate concern for the safety of students.

Students were dismissed on schedule with the exception of a couple of bus routes, Empen said.

Empen said the safety procedure worked, in that the recipient of the threat shared the information with school authorities and procedures to keep everyone in the building safe were followed. Dixon PD put a heavy police presence in the neighborhood around the two schools, which share the same campus on Division Street.

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Troy Taylor

Troy E. Taylor

Was named editor for Saukvalley.com and the Gazette and Telegraph in 2021. An Illinois native, he has been a reporter or editor in daily newspapers since 1989.