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The Evanston Township High School District 202 Board this week approved a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the City of Evanston that widens the “safe school zone” around ETHS on all four sides of the school property.

Instead of the school’s jurisdiction ending at the public sidewalk, it would extend across the street to encompass the sidewalks on Dodge Avenue, Lake Street, Pitner Avenue, and Church Street.

Purpose of the move, explained Safety Director Sam Pettineo, is to discourage non-student troublemakers from waiting in front of the school for their prey to come out at the end of the school day.

In the last couple of years, he explained, “there have been a number of incidents where outside parties in conflict with current students have arrived in the area of ETHS intending to have confrontations. In most cases the outside parties stand on public sidewalks waiting for individuals or groups of individuals to leave the building.”

This has resulted on some occasions, he said, “in physical conflicts in the street. Because of these safety concerns, we are seeking this strategy to remediate potential conflicts.”

The agreement, crafted with Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington, gives the two governmental entities “another tool to our toolbox of strategies we use to keep our school and community safe,” Pettineo said in a memo to Superintendent Eric Witherspoon.

In response to a question from board member Doug Holt about surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, Pettineo said the city plans to install emergency telephone kiosks at the corners of Dodge Avenue and Church Street and Dodge Avenue and Lake Street that would be monitored by cameras.

He said these kiosks are expected to be in place by the time school resumes at the end of August.

Board President Gretchen Livingston lauded the agreement as “an important additional tool in dealing with violence in the vicinity of the high school.”

The agreement was approved unanimously by the ETHS board Monday night and will be presented to the City Council for its concurrence next month.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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4 Comments

  1. Extending the ETHS School Safe Zone

    Extending the School Safe Zone is a great idea in some ways:

    • There can never be enough surveilance cameras and emergency telephones…its a good start
    • An EPD substation at Church/Dodge would be a great addition as there is no substitute for a physical presence of law enforcement.
    • A couple more School Resource Officers couldn't hurt.

    If the thought could be extended it would be outstanding to see:

    • Staff that were interested, willing and properly trained be able to carry a concealed firearm within the high school.
    • The removal of the concept of "gun free zone" from HB 183 so that a parent that has a CCW would be able to assist if, god forbid a situation was to occur.
    • The use of metal detectors should be expanded if warranted.
    • If a drug sniffing K-9 is available taking it for regular walks through ETHS on a random basis would add an element of surprise.
    • If warranted…liberal use of Terry stops by EPD would help.

    Great to see some concrete steps starting to be taken.

    1. Dog yes, guns no

      A drug dog would not even need to be present. All that would be needed is a police officer to walk a german shepherd  through the halls during a couple of class periods at the beginning of the school year.

      No class disruptions, no "search issues"… Just an implied message "don't dare bring it here" that will be on the text / twitterverse with no effort.

  2. As someone who lives in the

    As someone who lives in the immediate area around ETHS, I think that extending the "safe zone" is a great idea.  However, Jordan's ideas below scare me.  

  3. Awesome idea for substation and dog

    Awesome idea for substation and dog!!!  Yay!!!  Getting HOPEFUL!!!

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