Investigation underway after Evanston school officials get threatening messages following school reopening plans

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EVANSTON, Ill. — An investigation is underway in Evanston after School District 65 received at least one email to the school board, which was deemed threatening — on top of that, board members and the superintendent have received a barrage of backlash over plans to get kids back in school. 

The backlash started after a cable news outlet ran a story suggesting race was a factor regarding children would be able to avail of in-person learning over those who would be left to study remotely. However, it seems that outlet had its wires crossed and the community in Evanston is upset.

Shannon Lang is a mom of two children, one of whom is in School District 65.


Lang, like other parents in the district, knew exactly what they were planning when it came to kicking off the semester. 

“The model they’ve put forward is how can we take care of the most marginalized in our community,” she said.

The plan, unveiled last month, is to start everyone remotely in a couple of weeks. Then, if all COVID-19 guidelines can be met, and if staffing allows for it — the goal would be to introduce a hybrid model at the end of September. 

However, not everyone can come back, due to social distancing requirements so the board decided to use state guidelines to prioritize students for in-person learning. 

“The students prioritized to go back first are students on free and reduced lunches are kids who are struggling kids in special ed kids emerging bilinguals,” Lang said.

It just so happens that in the community, many of the kids that meet that criteria are African American and Latino. About a week ago, a cable news outlet, got wind of the story and it seems, got its wires crossed in the process. 

District Supt. Devon Horton said that since that story aired, there has been a lot of backlash. He personally has received emails. He said he’s gotten everything short of people calling him the N-word.

One message in particular was sent to the school board that ended up with the police getting involved.

“It said if you allow this to happen something will happen to you,” the superintendent said.

WGN attempted to get a copy of the threatening email, but was unable to do so due to the investigation.

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