ELMHURST, Ill. -- A high school student in suburban Elmhurst will not face criminal charges after hanging two nooses from the football field bleachers at York Community High School.
The incident that took place in January was investigated as a hate crime but the school determined the student's intent was to draw attention to the mental health impact of not being able to play sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nooses - made of rope - were found hanging from metal bleachers at the field by a group of adults who had gathered to play an informal game of soccer, police said.
The group took the nooses down and contacted authorities Monday, police said. Investigators found messages on the tape used to attach the nooses to the bleachers.
One message read "Let them play!" and the other read "Hear us now! Please!" police said.
In a letter to parents, the superintendent of Elmhurst Community School District 205 wrote in part, "Regardless of intent, this act decries the principles, values and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose holiday we paused to celebrate today... We further pledge to be courageous leaders, who will ensure that symbols of hatred, oppression and violence have no place in our school district and in the city of Elmhurst."
Patrols have been increased around the school, 355 W. St. Charles Rd., and surrounding neighborhoods as the investigation continues, police said. Extra security cameras have also been installed at the school.
"The City of Elmhurst has no tolerance for symbols of hatred, oppression and violence," Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth said in the statement.
WLS-TV contributed to this report
Source: ( Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2021.)