Evanston Township High School board members Tuesday said they’re disappointed with the administration’s report on its investigation into locker thefts last school year.

Board member Jonathan Baum said the public had been promised a detailed report on the district’s actions in regard to the thefts, and he was embarrassed that no such report had been given.

ETHS Principal Marcus Campbell’s report discussed the lack of response to an online tip line and confidential focus groups employed by the district to gather additional information about the thefts.

Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said the district has changed regulations on staff access to student lockers and conducted interviews about the thefts with students, staff and school safety personnel. But those details were absent from Campbell’s report.

“We had a chance to show that we could do this self-examination, and then tell it to the community in a transparent way,” Baum said. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t do that.”

Campbell told the board that he felt a more detailed report was inappropriate because much of the information would have pertained to a personnel issue.

Witherspoon said that the district will complete a second report on incidences of theft at ETHS by the end of the school year, as it has done in response to previous upticks in theft in the district.

Board member Gretchen Livingston said previous annual reports had laid out information on thefts committed over several years and gave statistics on the incidence of such thefts at ETHS.

“I think it’s time to go back and look at that report and deliver it in the same way so we have a point of comparison,” Livingston said.

Related stories

ETHS students may now use their own locks at gym (5/24/16)

ETHS to limit locker master key access (5/10/16)

No charges in ETHS locker theft cases (5/4/16)

Adults may be stealing from kids’ lockers at ETHS (4/28/16)

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  1. Whaddya gonna do when they DON’T come for you, bad boys bad boys

    So Baum is disappointed?

    What is he and the board going to do about it? 

    Answer. Nothing. Just like nothing was done about the crime even though there was a video showing the school security guard in the act.

    We can do something. Vote out all the incumbents and then fire the superintendent. Now there's a novel idea.

    1. “Nothing”

      Hi Al,

      Two security officers were fired.

      That's more than "nothing," though it certainly can be argued that it wasn't sufficient.

      — Bill

    2. He can’t do anything
      Baum raised the issue repeatedly at the board meeting. He was effectively shut-down by the board president. The same board president who promised on May 23rd: “Dr. Marcus Campbell will report back to the Board of Education on September 6, 2016, the very first school board meeting of the 2016-17 school year, about the findings and any additional steps the district will take to address these concerns. The report will focus on what we have learned and what has been done to address reporting and investigating lost or stolen items in the future.”

      The only report in the Sept 6 board meeting was a failed student focus group. No report on what was learned, what additional steps that will be taken to address reporting and investigating.

      The was essentially a cover up by the school. They’d been told of thefts for years. Students had shared their suspicions of staff members with members of the administration. There is no evidence that the school took any action based on these reports. But without a comprehensive INDEPENDENT investigation, there is no evidence that the two staff members fired were the only ones involved.

      The stakeholders at ETHS deserve better. Kudos to Mr. Baum for trying to get more answers. Shame on the board president for not fulfilling her own promises.

  2. Locker Theft

    I can understand why the ETHS school board was embarrassed by the lack of effort in producing meaningful report by the school administration. The school explained that this was due to a personnel issue. The school has had a history of blaming the students who said that the security staff commited the theft from their locker. Many of the students wrongfully received suspendsions.

    When the school also wanted to suspend the siudent who actually made a video that showed the security staff commiting the theft, it was a crime. The theft was a crime and not a personnel issue.The police department should have handled the matter. ETHS does not have any police powers. 

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