Metal detectors in use. (Shutterstock)

As promised, a parents group has submitted a petition to the District 202 Board of Education, calling for metal detectors to be installed at Evanston Township High School.

The group, called “Evanston for Safe Schools,” was formed after two guns were found at ETHS on December 16, and three students were arrested.

Of that incident, the petition states that “nearly 4,000 students and staff huddled in their rooms for hours under a terrifying lockdown. It was not a great day to be a Wildkit.”

The online effort was closed after collecting 200 signatures, but group organizer Amy Averbuch, an ETHS parent, says they could have easily obtained more.

In a letter to the Board accompanying the petition, Averbuch, who addressed the board in person on Jan. 18, says “In under four days, we quickly collected 200 petition signatures from other parents, teachers, students, friends, community members, and ETHS alumni.”

The petition says metal detectors will “help deter people from bringing illegal guns/weapons into the school.”

It also calls for alerting people that a student who brings weapons to school can be expelled.

Averbuch tells Evanston Now that a student thinking of bringing a firearm to school needs intervention and counseling, so that student does not get thrown out of school.

The petition asks the Board of Education to commit to researching weapons detectors by the Feb. 7 meeting, present findings to the community by the March 14 session, and “include this serious, urgent discussion” as an agenda item for community feedback by the April 11 meeting.

District 202 officials have previously said they will look into the use of metal detectors, but have not set a schedule, nor have they committed to putting them on campus.

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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  1. Thank you for providing information about attempts to provide metal detectors at ETHS.
    I am very much opposed to the suggestion and believe the majority of residents (students, parents, and grandparents) would agree. (I am of the latter group).
    Before any such consideration, the District #202 School Board must do extensive homework. Here are a few suggestions:
    —an interview with our Superintendent, Dr. Witherspoon who has voiced strong opinions on this topic in the past.

    —extensive reading of background information on the subject, including the 2019 article from the New York Times, entitled “20 Years after Columbine…”. In particular, a thorough study on “School Firearm Violence, Prevention Policies” by a professor from Ball State is cited. It is critical reading, particular the Conclusion.

    —discussion with those related to other schools with experience.
    My conversation with a friend who served on the Columbine Commission reaffirmed that educating and encouraging students to be watchful and informative provides the best success for overall safety.
    I would appreciate your sending this to District 202 School Bd. members. I have had difficulty doing so.

    1. I agree that educating and encouraging students to be watchful and informative provides success for overall safety in conjunction with a touch-less and quick weapons detections system, thank you. While the incident in Columbine, CO was a pre-meditated, mental illness case, I look forward to reading the research you posted.

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