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Nearly a quarter of students miss school

Spike in no-shows follows talk of violence

Published: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

PROPHETSTOWN – Prophetstown High School saw a big drop in attendance Friday – the day that a student had warned would see violence.

Of the school’s 310 students, 70 were no-shows – about 22 percent, Principal Kevin Parker said. Normally, the school has a 5 percent to 6 percent absenteeism rate, he said.

The principal declined to speculate on the reasons for the absences, but he said the school day seemed normal, despite a police presence. Prophetstown police officers and Whiteside County sheriff’s deputies were on hand during the day, Parker said.

On Tuesday, a special-needs student had spoken to others during lunch about his plan for violence on Friday, authorities said.

The other students told administrators, who called police.

Prophetstown Police Chief Michael Fisk said he had determined the boy had no access to weapons. The boy wasn’t charged and continued to attend school.

The chief said the school was safe and that the police presence was to “calm any nerves.”

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