Evanston police say a Haven Middle School student has been referred to juvenile court on a disorderly conduct charge in connection with the discovery of three nooses in a playground area at the school on May 13.
The department says the state’s attorney’s office has declined to add a hate crime charge to the referral “because the actions and motive of the involved juvenile did not meet the legal, statutory elements of a hate crime.”
Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew says officers responded to the school 2417 Prairie Ave. about 1:40 p.m. on Friday, May 13, following reports of a disturbance.
While on the scene, he says, officers spoke to a witness who pointed out three ropes fashioned into nooses hanging from a tree that officers removed and recovered as evidence.
Glew says the department’s detective bureau immediately began an investigation in cooperation with Evanston/Skokie School District 65 that included witness interviews along with review of surveillance footage and cellphone videos that led to the identification of the student charged in the case.
Because of the confidentiality of juvenile court proceedings, the student’s identity cannot be released.
Glew says the department takes all such incidents extremely seriously, appreciates the cooperation of the school district in the investigation and encourages all students, parents and staff to report any suspicious activity as it occurs to police and/or school officials.
Update 6:55 p.m.: In a statement this evening, District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton said the district now “will move forward with its own internal investigation to determine the appropriate level of interventions, both disciplinary and restorative.”
“This matter was very troubling,” Horton added, “and we must take the steps necessary to help ensure that this type of hurtful act does not happen again.”