ETHS board discusses school safety.

The principal and incoming superintendent of Evanston Township High School says stationary metal detectors will not be installed at ETHS.

Marcus Campbell told the District 202 school board on Monday night that “metal detectors do not serve as a preventive measure.”

Campbell said “there are no simple solutions” to school safety, but “metal detectors can be easily bypassed.”

ETHS had an independent safety assessment following an incident late last year where two loaded guns were discovered in the building. The school was locked down for several hours, and three students were charged. The guns were not fired, and no one was injured.

Police leaving the high school on Dec. 16, 2021, apparently carrying evidence from the gun incident. (Bill Smith photo)

Following that incident, a parents’ group called for the installation of a weapons detection system.

However, Campbell said even though he is not calling for fixed detectors, he said ETHS can “take steps for a safer school,” beginning with building “an environment of trust and support.”

While not everything in the safety audit was revealed for security reasons, a number of recommendations from the safety expert were outlined, including making sure all classroom doors are closed and locked at all times, more evacuation maps and additional emergency supplies such as bullhorns.

The report also suggested that ETHS “consider using existing metal detectors for random searches,” although there was no statement that this will indeed be done.

Campbell said student and staff safety is the highest priority, but “what is right for ETHS may not be right for others.”

Also at Monday night’s meeting, board members re-elected Pat Savage-Williams as board president and Monique Parsons as vice-president.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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3 Comments

  1. I commend the Evanston District 202 Board for its decision not to have metal detectors at ETHS. I believe strongly, as noted by our future superintendent, Dr. Campbell, that do so, gives us no assurance for added safety for our students. We do not need “a mighty fortress”. We need GUN CONTROL in our country’s well as the fostering of an atmosphere where kids feel comfortable disclosing that “things ain’t right” with their surroundings!

  2. I disagree completely with this decision and that first comment that waiting for gun control in this country is the only answer.

    In my opinion this decision is a complete abdication of leadership on the issue. Our new superintendent proclaims that metal detectors “do not serve as a preventative measure” and can be “easily bypassed” – what?

    Let’s admit what’s going on, this leadership and board would rather roll the dice on safety rather than implement something that will take some planning and hard work.

    In other words they are simply going to look the other way and hope for the best – awesome work everyone!

    1. I completely disagree with Mr. Campbell as well. It is looking the other way. After all, what would people think of a school in such a prestigious community whose high school needs metal detectors. Get over the stigma and protect our children first. Then, use the facts to pursue gun control. Has there not been enough loaded guns, gun violence in Evanston and the surrounding communities to take action. I guess I should reconsider potential gun threats in airports if metal detectors can be easily bypassed.

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