Elmwood Park High School hosts meeting on response to student who brought gun to school

Eric Horng Image
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Elmwood Park HS hosts meeting on response to student with gun
Elmwood Park High School is hosting a meeting over its response to a student bringing a gun to school last week. Hundreds are expected to attend.

ELMWOOD PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Elmwood Park High School hosted a meeting Wednesday night addressing its response to a student bringing a gun to school last week. Hundreds of students, parents and faculty attended.

The meeting came two days after Elmwood Park students walked out of class to protest the administration's handling of an incident last week involving a 17-year-old male student who police said they arrested and charged with possession of a handgun.

Administrators say after being notified of the potential threat, they immediately called police and then located and confronted and the student in the school. But that student managed to leave the building and was later arrested by police outside.

READ MORE: Elmwood Park HS students express safety concerns after student arrested for bringing gun to school

No one was injured in the incident, but some said the school should have immediately been placed on lockdown, and students and teachers should have been told sooner about what happened.

At times expressing anger and frustration, speakers at the meeting gave district officials an earful, and even called on some to resign. Many questioned why the school was never put on lockdown.

"If a lockdown was called, students would have entered the nearest classroom," School Board President Fran Parisi explained. "This would have made it challenging to find and mitigate the threat. It could have potentially locked students in a room with the threat."

"We have practiced hard lockdown drills for this exact moment and why those protocols were not implemented baffles us," said student Damian Perez.

Still, the district said it's reviewing its safety protocols and will present to the board in April clear procedures on how future emergencies will be handled.

"This is your opportunity to do better. You can. You should," one speaker at the meeting said.

At the meeting, some parents called for metal detectors and police at the school. Among their demands, the teachers union called for more mental health resources for students.