Following a frightening incident where two guns were discovered in school, Evanston Township High School is studying the potential use of metal detectors as a security measure.
The school was locked down on December 16, after two students with the weapons were discovered in a bathroom. No shots were fired. No one was injured. The students were charged.
In a website message to the community, ETHS says that based on a “thorough debrief” with the Evanston Police Department, “it is important to know that the investigation is ongoing and there is no threat to students or staff.”
The school states that “there is no evidence of students bringing guns to school to use them at ETHS.”
Rather, the investigation has found that “the students had the weapons for personal protection based on violence in the community.”
Still, the ETHS notes that school officials are consulting with safety experts and researching steps which could improve safety. One such option to be reviewed is the use of metal detectors to screen individuals before they enter the building.
ETHS leaders also say they are working on building stronger connections with students, “which continues to be the most critical way to create a positive and safe learning environment,” as well as working more closely and collaboratively with the police department and with the school resource officers who are on campus.
The community message also addressed the start of school and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evanston Now has reported on a student-generated petition calling for ETHS to go on an “adaptive pause” (remote learning), for two weeks or some other appropriate time frame, to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
ETHS had a five-day “adaptive pause” before winter break, but such a temporary and short-term return to remote learning can only be done through consultation with the Evanston Health Department.
The school district cannot implement such a pause on its own, nor can a full-time remote or hybrid learning scenario “satisfy the state requirements as school attendance days.”
The school says “please know that the goal” for the State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Helth, the Evanston Health Department, and ETHS “is to have students in school in person.”