HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Township School District 113 held a community meeting on security Tuesday evening following an incident last week where a student brought a gun into Highland Park High School.
The incident sent the school into lockdown, one family telling WGN before the meeting that their freshman daughter was hiding behind a science lab table, with her teacher instructing them to throw books at an intruder if someone were to come in.
“Our teacher, he was really prepared,” said Lily Dahms, a freshman at Highland Park High School, during the meeting. “He had books and he’s like if anyone comes in, throw them at the intruder.”
Police said a student brought a gun into the building. The gun in question was recovered off-site, and one person is now criminally charged in the case.
“We are dealing with a problem that shows up at our door. The origin of the problem is not at our door, it’s outside our door,” said District 113 superintendent, Dr. Bruce Law. “The question tonight is what are we doing at our door to keep our students and staff safe? But the question for us, as a country, is what are we doing to solve this problem? So that the work and the focus in schools are on academics, athletics, the arts … getting students ready for their ideal life.”
However, how District 113 will go about making the community feel safe as their children pursue their ideal lives is still very much up in the air.
“They’re scared to go to school. I’m scared to send them to school,” said Jenny Harjung, a mother in the school district. “Ever since the parade, I have been advocating for metal detectors and armed guards. I feel like our children are sitting ducks.”
District 113 has armed school resource officers in each of its two high schools, but board members at the meeting said previous research has shown that metal detectors aren’t effective.
“If there was something to deter them from coming into the building with weapons,” said Star Hall, another freshman at Highland Park High School. “I feel like that would be so much better.”