Haven Middle School.

The Haven Middle School student who allegedly hung three nooses near the school in May will go through an alternative justice program, instead of facing potential criminal conviction.

Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew says that “the juvenile court has decided the case will go through diversion,” which is generally “restorative and centered around the needs of the juvenile.”

Glew adds that this is “how the majority of juvenile cases go.”

While the process can vary from case to case, restorative diversion programs can include such things as counseling, mentoring, and social services.

Discovery of the nooses led to an outctry, with District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton calling the incident a “hate crime.”

Parents demonstrate against nooses and racism, May 16.

However, following an investigation, the student was only charged with disorderly conduct. The State’s Attorney’s office declined to add a hate crime prosecution because, according to the police department, “the actions and motive of the involved juvenile did not meet the legal statutory element of a hate crime.”

District 65 says its own investigation, however, is ongoing.

Spokesperson Melissa Messinger said D65 “was fully cooperative in the investigation conducted by law enforcement personnel and we must trust that the process was handled with diligence and care to ensure justice is served.”

Because of student privacy laws, Messinger said the district cannot provide any additional information.

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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