Illinois’ HIGHLAND PARK — After a student took a gun to Highland Park High School last week and walked back out with the weapon, parents in Highland Park pressured school officials to explain on Tuesday night.
The parents claim that after the July 4th Parade shooting last year that left seven people dead, more robust protection was promised to them; yet, security loopholes were revealed last week during school lockdowns.
Parents essentially requested metal detectors, armed security guards, and explanations for what occurred on the Tuesday before last, according to CBS 2’s Sara Machi. Still, the last request has proven to be quite challenging.
According to administrators, the school’s security measures and the pupils participating in last week’s lockdown are both confidential. The admins eventually entered a closed session.
“I was fiercely calling and texting, and she was hunkered down behind the lab table in her physics class, “ At the Township High School District 113 board meeting, parent Suzi Wahl made a statement.
“They’re scared to go to school,” parent Jenny Harjung said at the meeting. “I’m scared to send them to school.”
“At one point, she sent me a picture of them in the classroom, and I thought, is this the last picture I am going to see if my kid?” parent Diana Palmisano told CBS 2’s Machi. “And I don’t think any parent should feel like that, ever. We need metal detectors. We need security. Something. They need to do something.”
Parents and students packed the board meeting to demand increased security as feelings from last week’s school lockdown were still raw. Last year, at least one parent attended the Highland Park July 4th procession.
“I don’t understand what we are waiting for,” Harjung said. “My son was researching bulletproof backpacks. That’s heartbreaking to think that you need a bulletproof backpack to go to school.”
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According to school administrators, a system that now requires kids to scan in at the door and the addition of six unarmed security guards to support the school resource officers have been implemented since the Fourth of July.
“We are dealing with something at our doorstep,” Supt. Bruce Law for District 113 said.
Students still claim that it is inadequate.
“We are not going to feel safe until there’s something done – like metal detectors,” said Highland Park High School freshman Star Hall. “Please, something.”
Last week, five students were detained. Only one young person was accused of having a gun and becoming rowdy.
Parents spoke to us before they left. They all expressed dissatisfaction with what they heard at the board meeting. The board remained inactive.
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