On Sept. 12, a 10-year-old student at Aux Sable Elementary School in Minooka reported to his mother and later to school officials and Minooka Police that earlier that day, a man emerged from the corn stalks behind the school, put his hand over his mouth and carried him into the field.
Police have since stated that the case is inactive, and that the evidence does not substantiate the boy's statement. But school district administrators say they weren't taking any chances.
"We took it seriously, we took it as though it happened," Minooka Community Consolidated District 201 Superintendent Al Gegenheimer said."We positioned people back near the cornfield in order to keep kids away."
Patch first reported this story on Thursday.
Since the time of the incident, school officials have taken further steps to keep students safe and to ease parents' minds. Gegenheimer said the father of the boy who said he was a victim of an attempted kidnapping approached school officials and said his son was still afraid. He suggested that the school consider putting a fence between the cornfields and the playground.
"I contacted my building and grounds guy and I said, 'can you put up a snow barricade,'" Gegenheimer said. "My buildings and ground guy said he was going to call the farmer and ask him to cut down the corn."
The corn has now been cut down and school officials are pricing the cost of fencing.
"We’re thinking about putting a fence just down where the playground is," Gegenheimer said. "We're also looking at prices for a cyclone fence.
"We don’t want anybody afraid of anything."
Gegenheimer said they do not intend to enclose the field.
Two other schools in the district are built similarly. But Jones Elementary School has an existing fence between the school and the field.
"At Jones, we have a fence, it's because there is a retention pond back there and we wanted to keep kids away from down there," Gegenheimer said.
Walnut Trails Elementary School does not have a fence.
The mother of the 10-year-old boy does not believe enough has been done to investigate this case or to inform the public.
“These cornfields are everywhere out here and these parents need to know,” she said in an interview with Patch on Thursday. "It’s crazy to me that they are not doing more."
Minooka Police said in an interview with Patch on Thursday that the case is inactive, due to an inability to substantiate evidence.
The inability to substantiate the story also contributed to the choice the school district made when sending out a letter to parents.
"I believe the letter was written and it stated that a child was confronted on school property during the school day," Gegenheimer said. "What we did not say was that a child was grabbed and carried into a corn field because we could not substantiate that."
The letter did include information for parents to pass along to students reminding them of "stranger danger."